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Police put damper on popular weekend fun rides

Posted by on July 16th, 2007 at 9:58 am

Midnight Mystery Ride - January

Cyclist gather before a Midnight Mystery Ride.
(File photo)

The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) were busy this weekend issuing citations to cyclists at two Portland biking traditions: the monthly Midnight Mystery Ride and the weekly Zoobomb.

Both rides have grown in popularity over the years and riders reported mass ticketing at both events. The coordinated — and seemingly planned in advance — enforcement stings have some wondering whether the PPB is just trying to keep riders safe or if they are attempting to completely squelch the events.

The Midnight Mystery Ride (commonly referred to as MMR) is a monthly event where cyclists meet at midnight and ride to a mystery location in order hang out and enjoy an outdoor party.

This month’s ride was on Friday and here’s a report by the ride leader as posted to the Shift email list:

“…last night’s MMR was immediately set upon by police; first corking and and being as supportive as people with guns and the constant threat of arbitrary kidnapping and imprisonment can be, then ticketing and harrassing (arresting?) people who were either breaking the law or doing things that the police think is breaking the law (like riding in a lane other than the bike lane or having a reflector instead of a taillight).”

The police presence led to confusion and many people left the ride. Others continued on and enjoyed a nice summer night in the park. The ride leader suspects that the growing size of the ride, and the presence of newcomers who don’t ride safely and seem to be there just to party, have made it harder to avoid the interest of the police.

Another person on the ride wonders how the Portland tradition of large group rides can continue with the PPB’s current enforcement practices:

“The PPB prefers that people have their giant parties at Barracuda, American Cowgirls, or Holocene (local night clubs). Sometimes, though, many of us would rather party outside with the help of our bikes and that freaks them out. There’s the problem. How do we deal with it? There may not be an easy solution.”

The police presence has prompted the creator of the Midnight Mystery Rides to issue an open letter to MMR riders.

Zoobomb 5/28/07

Riders await the MAX pre-Zoobomb.
(File photo)

Last night’s weekly Zoobomb, where people take the MAX to Washington Park and then ride down the hills on bikes, was also met with enhanced police presence.

One rider called it an “elaborate sting” and reported that the Traffic Division of the PPB used an unmarked car in the Zoo parking lot to do video surveillance at a stop sign along a known Zoobomb route,

“…the unmarked car reported to officers staked out around the bend saying, presumably, that everyone had run the stop sign. When the group rounded the corner, the lights came on and it was announced “You are not free to go! You are all being issued citations!” and later “A general announcement: you are all under video and audio surveillance.” It was pretty surreal.”

According to people on the ride, the enforcement took place at a stop sign adjacent to a crosswalk in front of the Children’s Museum as seen in the middle of this map.

Is the increase in police presence at these rides part of a coordinated crackdown? Or is the PPB simply enforcing the law in the interest of public safety?

Can these traditional rides continue or will they have the same fate as Critical Mass*, which has been seriously curtailed due to strict police enforcement?

I hope to have some thoughts on this from the Traffic Division Commander soon.

If you attended either of these rides (as a rider or as a police officer), please share your thoughts and experiences below.


[*Note: Unlike Critical Mass, Zoobomb and the Midnight Mystery Rides are not rooted in activism.]

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

85 Comments
  • Avatar
    rixtir July 16, 2007 at 10:16 am

    I wasn\’t on either of these rides, so my comments aren\’t directed at these rides in particular. In fact, last night I was at home, so didn\’t even see the zoobomb go by, as I usually do.

    That said, I\’ve seen zoobombers consistently riding outside the law. Not all of them, but on every run, there are zoobombers staying sort of within the law, and zoobombers blatantly breaking the law. I\’ve also seen some incredibly stupid and dangerous riding by zoobombers. Given that reality, is it really any surprise that the police might show up?

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    felix July 16, 2007 at 10:26 am

    NO COMMENT – MEDIA BLACKOUT – ZOOBOMB

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    tonyt July 16, 2007 at 10:42 am

    \”trying to keep riders safe or if they are attempting to completely squelch the events\”

    This is all about control.

    It doesn\’t require their participation, it\’s not sponsored, they don\’t get it therefore they don\’t like it, therefore they must control it.

    Simply put, many cops have control issues and they need to find something to act upon.

    There are plenty of studies that point to cops having all sorts of issues at greater levels than the general population. Somehow, the police force either attracts them or creates them. I suspect both.

    Example? Police have 2-4 times the incidence of domestic violence as the general population.

    http://www.purpleberets.org/violence_police_families.html

    Suicide? About the same.

    http://www.tearsofacop.com/police/articles/lewis.html

    I know there are good cops out there, heck, I think most believe they are doing the right thing, but there is something systemic about this. This isn\’t about bikes. It\’s about control and seeking outlets for their frustration.

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    Prettybikelover July 16, 2007 at 10:50 am

    I used to ride MMR regularly, and have ridden it less and less since the police presence became heavy-handed and uncomfortable for me.

    I don\’t understand how 100 cars driving up & down Greeley and Intertate at 12:30am is considered fine by the police, yet 100 bikes doing the same thing is illegal.

    I really don\’t understand.

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    rixtir July 16, 2007 at 10:53 am

    tonyt, the police have a job to do. That job is to enforce the laws. If people get together in large groups with the intent to break the law, the police will (eventually) respond. What part of that don\’t you get?

    I\’ve seen zoobombers break the law every single ride; I wouldn\’t be surprised to hear that the police have received complaints about that. I would be surprised if the police received complaints and did nothing.

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    tonyt July 16, 2007 at 11:02 am

    rixtir,

    I\’m fully aware that police have a job to do. My question is this.

    Is the MMR actually a problem? Why the massive crackdown?

    Complaints?

    I\’ve called the cops again and again to deal with 3,000 lb cars ripping down my street and blowing stop signs at near full speed. I have an uncontrolled intersection and see near-misses pretty regularly. There is a head-start school in my neighborhood. Kids walking around. Kids riding bikes.

    I\’m told that they can spare ONE cop, and if he/she doesn\’t nab somebody in 15 minutes, they\’ll move on. I\’m told it\’s a manppower issue.

    Yet this? This massive crackdown? This is the best use of manpower?

    This is ridiculous. This is about control.

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    rixtir July 16, 2007 at 11:10 am

    Actually, I wasn\’t commenting on MMT. But I did read the links Jonathan provided, and it\’s clear that even the MMT organizers are saying there\’s a problem, and it\’s coming from people who are more interested in causing a scene and partying than they are in the idea of the MMT. If that\’s the case, I\’m not surprised that the cops would write tickets.

    Of course it\’s about control– what would an organized group dedicated to lawbreaking expect?

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    TR July 16, 2007 at 11:11 am

    Ah yes, and now the flood of comments from people who don\’t ride these rides begins. And it took less time than usual for the holier-than-thou-I\’ve-never-ran-a-stop-sign crowd to start blaming the bicyclists.

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    Slick July 16, 2007 at 11:16 am

    Even if these rides asked for help, the cops wouldn\’t give it. They didn\’t even want to escort the ride of silence. They either need to offer more parade escorts or find some other way to make things safe to their standards. Giving ticket for having fun is poor public service. I don\’t want to live in a police state!

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    Donna July 16, 2007 at 11:17 am

    I could be totally off, but it *seems* like the intensity and distasteful nature of these crackdowns have increased in a timeline that matches personnel changes in the position of traffic commander. I noticed an increase and change in nature when Bill Sinnott retired and yet another when Marty Rowley retired. Again, that is *my* personal impression, which others may or may not share.

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    rixtir July 16, 2007 at 11:21 am

    start blaming the bicyclists.

    If they\’re blameless, they presumably will win their cases, no?

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    tonyt July 16, 2007 at 11:25 am

    Rixtir, I get it. I understand that at its core, law enforcement is about control. But there is control and CONTROL. These guys, and Kruger specifically, have issues.

    What I seek is proportionality and appropriate use of finite resources. This ain\’t it.

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    tonyt July 16, 2007 at 11:27 am

    \”If they\’re blameless, they presumably will win their cases, no?\”

    HAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! HA HA HA! BRAAAAAAAAAA!

    Oh rixtir you crack me up! That is soooo how the system works.

    Okay, I\’m outta here, I\’ve hit my daily allotment of comments already.

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    peejay July 16, 2007 at 11:35 am

    Rixtir:

    This is again the same issue as all those stings. Let me repeat myself. If we have finite resources for law enforcement and the police cannot be everywhere at all times, then they must subject their efforts to some kind of statistically appropriate distribution, focussed on doing the most good. That would be to stop the most crashes, or to prevent the most violent crime or property crime. I would think it might be way down on the list to be devoting a bunch of resources to harrassing a group of riders until they can be busted for one thing or another. However many cops there were on that ride is that many that were not patrolling dangerous areas (for vehicle safety or serious crime). That is an irresponsible waste of our city budget.

    Oh, and another thing. Do you know how the cops busted riders? They used their motorcycles to cut them off, causing risk of collision and injury. (I was on the MMR and witnessed this.) If this is fine, why not just use pepper spray or even live rounds?

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    anon July 16, 2007 at 11:38 am

    I say you run a stop you get a ticket,
    one road one set of rules!

    just think if you had stopped you wouldn\’t be complaining about the ticket, your should consider yourself very very very very lucky if your still alive if you run a stop.

    what kind of message does running stops send to the children bike riders?

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    Lenny Anderson July 16, 2007 at 11:42 am

    When Portland\’s freeways are virtually unpatroled by law enforcement, it is absurd to assign traffic division officers to bike stings of any kind.
    Who is running PPB? Time to take this to the Mayor.

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    Jack July 16, 2007 at 11:47 am

    It\’s painfully clear that the Portland Police Department hates cyclists. Officers Barnum and Hosely specifically have vendettas against cyclists and will go beyond their unmerited powers to ruin the day of any cyclist. Be warned. We live in an extremely bike un-friendly city.

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    rixtir July 16, 2007 at 11:47 am

    I don\’t disagree with you, peejay, but I think it\’s clear that the police are only occasionally showing up. Are they out pulling over every zoobomber every Sunday? They could (theoretically, but not resource-wise), but they don\’t. My guess is they got some complaints, and decided to make their presence shown. Then they\’ll move on to something else for awhile.

    ps, you have a pm.

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    rixtir July 16, 2007 at 11:50 am

    \”If they\’re blameless, they presumably will win their cases, no?\”

    HAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! HA HA HA! BRAAAAAAAAAA!

    Oh rixtir you crack me up! That is soooo how the system works.

    If a biker doesn\’t have a light, and gets a ticket for not having a light, and the cop testifies at the hearing that the biker didn\’t have a light, yes, that biker will be found guilty.

    IS there a solution to that? How about this: The biker rides with a light, thereby preventing the citation in the first place.

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    SKiDmark July 16, 2007 at 11:59 am

    If it is a back light, you are not required to have one. You are required to have a red reflector.

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    rixtir July 16, 2007 at 12:02 pm

    I know that. If a rider gets a citation for failure to have a tail light, that one is easy to beat in court. Sure it\’s a hassle to go to court, and if that cop knows there\’s no violation but writes a ticket anyway, THAT is something worth calling them on for harassment.

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    peejay July 16, 2007 at 12:46 pm

    Many judges automatically uphold tickets, even the most blatantly overreaching ones, because they work with the same officers every day. They only see each citizen once or twice, and it\’s human nature to favor those whom you know.

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    rixtir July 16, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    Nonsense, peejay. Sheer nonsense. You give me a citation for a violation that isn\’t on the books, and I can beat it, in any court, in front of any judge, any day of the week.

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    tonyt July 16, 2007 at 1:15 pm

    Okay, I gotta jump back in on this one rixtir. No sir, THAT is nonesense. Dishonest, misleading, strawman nonsense.

    peejay never said a judge would uphold a citation for something that \”isn\’t on the books.\”

    He said \”overreaching.\”

    Cops aren\’t that stupid. They\’re not going to write a ticket for something not on the books. They may get creative, but they\’re almost always going to give themselves something to work with in court.

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    SKiDmark July 16, 2007 at 1:18 pm

    rixter, you are naive if you think there isn\’t at least a 50/50 chance of a judge siding with the Police even if you are in the right, especially if your are involved in a bike activity like MMR, Zoobomb, or Critical Mass.

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    SKiDmark July 16, 2007 at 1:21 pm

    Also, for Zoobomb it is like this every summer. More people start showing up, and then the Police start showing up. It\’s not every week, and occasionally the Police have to leave because they get a \”hot call\” (their term not mine).

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    rixtir July 16, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    tonyt, somebody posted (in one of the links) that cops wrote tickets for not having a tail light. Later, in post 18 of this thread, I posted:

    If a biker doesn\’t have a light, and gets a ticket for not having a light, and the cop testifies at the hearing that the biker didn\’t have a light, yes, that biker will be found guilty.

    IS there a solution to that? How about this: The biker rides with a light, thereby preventing the citation in the first place.

    peejay said that bikes aren\’t required to be equipped with tail lights. I said I know, and if they did, that would be easy to beat in court. peejay replied:

    Many judges automatically uphold tickets, even the most blatantly overreaching ones, because they work with the same officers every day. They only see each citizen once or twice, and it\’s human nature to favor those whom you know.

    There\’s no strawman argument in there, tonyt. peejay brought up the subject of citations for nonexistent violations, and I responded that those are easy to beat.

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    rixtir July 16, 2007 at 1:27 pm

    ixter, you are naive if you think there isn\’t at least a 50/50 chance of a judge siding with the Police even if you are in the right, especially if your are involved in a bike activity like MMR, Zoobomb, or Critical Mass.

    The judge will almost certainly take the officer\’s word over yours. If the officer says he saw you run a red light, and you say you didn\’t run a red light, you will be found guilty.

    If an officer writes you a ticket for a nonsensical violation like \”no tail light,\” that\’s easy to beat. There isn\’t a judge in the county that will uphold a ticket for a violation that doesn\’t exist, if you\’re competent enough to bring the statute book with you.

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    peejay July 16, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    rixtir:

    It was SKIDmark who gave us the skinny on the light requirement, and I trust him. However, I disagree with you about the judge always making the correct decision. In many cases, they do completely defer to the officer, even on points of cold, hard fact, and certainly on matters of degree.

    And it\’s NOT OK for the police to bust us for violations they suspect won\’t hold up in court. Many people cannot devote the time and money to show up, and are forced to mail in the fine. It is UNACCEPTABLE for the police to go on a fishing expedition.

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    peejay July 16, 2007 at 1:37 pm

    I\’d also like to say that EVERY SINGLE person here, if followed by a police officer determined to find some infraction, would get pulled over in less than ten minutes. You just would. Everybody.

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    rixtir July 16, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    It was SKIDmark who gave us the skinny on the light requirement, and I trust him. However, I disagree with you about the judge always making the correct decision. In many cases, they do completely defer to the officer, even on points of cold, hard fact, and certainly on matters of degree.

    I don\’t dispute that they gave tickets for that. Let\’s back up. I said if a biker gets a ticket for not having a light– and I think ANYBODY should be able to understand that I\’m referring to the statutorily required front light– and the cop testifies, yes, the court will take the cop\’s word that the biker didn\’t have a light.

    That is an ENTIRELY different situation from a court finding a biker guilty for a violation that doesn\’t exist. Given a nonexistent violation, I can beat it in any court, in front of any judge, any day of the week. Fact. The officer will lose every time. Fact.

    And it\’s NOT OK for the police to bust us for violations they suspect won\’t hold up in court. Many people cannot devote the time and money to show up, and are forced to mail in the fine.

    Of course it\’s unacceptable. And I\’d RATHER be directing my attention to REAL outrages, like the CMers who were given citations for not using the bike lane on a street where there are no bike lanes (it happened in NYC) than directing it towards imaginary, manufactured outrages along the lines of \”I broke the law and was ticketed for it. UNFAIR!\”

    It is UNACCEPTABLE for the police to go on a fishing expedition.

    That\’s not what a fishing expedition is.

    I\’d also like to say that EVERY SINGLE person here, if followed by a police officer determined to find some infraction, would get pulled over in less than ten minutes. You just would. Everybody.

    Of course. I\’ve broken out in a cold sweat when I\’ve been followed by a cop– note that I said \”followed by a cop,\” and not \”when I\’ve seen a cop\”– because it\’s always possible that I would screw up somehow.

    But don\’t you ever wonder why exactly it is that the same cyclists who argue vociferously about why they shouldn\’t have to obey the law keep getting tickets, while those cyclists who do their best to follow the law never get tickets? Don\’t you see any sort of connection there?

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    someone July 16, 2007 at 2:11 pm

    The issue that I see at stake here has little to do with bikes. Rather, it is a conflict between 2 types of people: at one side we have independent, adventurous, critical and, often, risk loving types that often are at odds with laws and regulations that have doubtful purposes. On the other side, we have the “good boys” type – the kind of dumb ass that would come to a full stop on his bike, at a stop sign, in the middle of night, when there’s no one around. These are the uptight, scared, law-abiding types that are unable to improvise and break any rules and have a reverence to any kind of authority. They live so scared that they really believe that the world out there is full of dangers, and that we all would be utterly unsafe if we couldn’t count on law enforcement everywhere, all the time, in the most irrelevant situations. Since they are so uptight and scared, they greatly resent anyone who does not act that way, who is dynamic, street smart, not afraid of breaking stupid rules. They cannot stand the fact that someone can get away with that, and they feel revenged every time someone is fucked by the police or any other authority. These are the little men and women, and unfortunately they dominate the society, in Portland as well as the rest of the nation. If it wasn’t because of their support, the police would never be able to get away with their useless harassment, and stupid laws would be quickly forgotten. But they are all over, just look around, read the comments. It’s the same thing anytime there’s a conflict with law enforcement. They are quick to come out and blame the people who are not so fucking uptight as they are.

    The rest are just details.

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    Dabby July 16, 2007 at 2:43 pm

    I hate to say it, but whether or not the police were profiling or fishing, or just happened to be there eating a donut, you still ran a stop sign, got caught , and have to pay a ticket.

    Suck it up, butter cup.

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    Logan 5 July 16, 2007 at 2:52 pm

    I\’ve seen people make references here to cops writing tickets for not having a tail light but also stating that there is no law that says a bike must have one. So why – and how – are they writing tickets?

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    rixtir July 16, 2007 at 3:04 pm

    Logan 5,

    Theoretically, a cop could write a ticket for a violation of the equipment statute, and then write on the ticket \”no tail light.\”

    When it comes to trial, the cyclist would be charged with a violation of that statute, and when the cop testifies that the cyclist had no tail light, it would be easy to prove that the statute doesn\’t require one.

    It seems more likely to me that the cop just wouldn\’t show up, once he realizes that he\’s got a losing case.

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    Graham July 16, 2007 at 3:09 pm

    [i]It\’s painfully clear that the Portland Police Department hates cyclists. Officers Barnum and Hosely specifically have vendettas against cyclists and will go beyond their unmerited powers to ruin the day of any cyclist. Be warned. We live in an extremely bike un-friendly city.[/i]

    I get that feeling too, having been on a critical mass ride some while back, and subjected to what felt like harassment. I\’m a safe-riding nice guy, but the whole time I felt like I was being stalked by a pack of wolves just waiting for me to slip up. It was all about the intimidation tactics. At one light (at which we were stopped waiting for it to turn) a cop on a motorcycle took the opportunity to mutter angrily at me about how much of their time we were wasting. WTF? I\’m just riding my bike, legally.

    Maybe every time Portland\’s PR department touts our famous bicycle-friendliness, other voices should rise, pointing out that the riders that most contribute to our bicycle culture are also the ones subjected to the most inordinately aggressive police scrutiny.

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    Graham July 16, 2007 at 3:12 pm

    Whoopsie, I obviously don\’t know how to italicize text… And I was quoting #17, which I forgot to mention.

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    rixtir July 16, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    Graham, do you honestly believe there would be a police escort at a CM on which everybody was observing the traffic laws, if CM hadn\’t cultivated a reputation for violating the traffic laws?

    I don\’t.

    I think if a mass of cyclists was riding within the law, and had never cultivated a law-breaking reputation, the cops wouldn\’t waste the city\’s money, just like they don\’t escort all of the cars stuck in rush hour traffic.

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    Jake Furniss July 16, 2007 at 3:29 pm

    …reminds me of when I lived in California.

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    peejay July 16, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    Whatever reputation MMR has for law-breaking does not fairly line up with reality. I am not saying that there isn\’t law breaking among its participants. But, unlike CM, MMR is not about confrontation or protest of any kind. It\’s about a group of people who want to have some low profile fun. Most people who talk about it as if it\’s another CM have no idea what they are talking about, and cetainly have not been on one of these rides.

    Here\’s my test: are we hurting anybody? I didn\’t think so. Then leave us the ____ alone!

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    someone July 16, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    The issue that I see at stake here has little to do with bikes. Rather, it is a conflict between 2 types of people: at one side we have independent, adventurous, critical and, often, risk loving types that often are at odds with laws and regulations that have doubtful purposes. On the other side, we have the “good boys” type – the dumb people that, in the middle of the night, would come to a full stop at a stop sign, when there’s no one around. These are the uptight, scared, law-abiding types that are unable to improvise and break any rules and have a reverence to any kind of authority. They live so scared that they really believe that the world out there is full of dangers, and that we all would be utterly unsafe if we couldn’t count on law enforcement everywhere, all the time, in the most irrelevant situations. Since they are so uptight and scared, they greatly resent anyone who does not act that way, who is dynamic, street smart, not afraid of breaking stupid rules. They cannot stand the fact that someone can get away with that, and they feel revenged every time someone is f-d by the police or any other authority. These are the little men and women, and unfortunately they dominate the society, in Portland as well as the rest of the nation. If it wasn’t because of their support, the police would never be able to get away with their useless harassment, and stupid laws would be quickly forgotten. But they are all over, just look around, read the comments. It’s the same thing anytime there’s a conflict with law enforcement. They are quick to come out and blame the people who are not so f-ing uptight as they are.

    The rest are just details.

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    wyatt July 16, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    \”…just like they don\’t escort all of the cars stuck in rush hour traffic.\”

    Oh c\’mon! Please just admit that you\’re \”secretly\” anti-bike/pro-car.

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    Logan 5 July 16, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    This may go a bit off topic but I think one of the reasons police don\’t like CM is because of the lack of leadership among the riders. It makes the event unpredictable and cops don\’t don\’t like that at all, makes \’em nervous. As CM was open to all, it was just too easy to attract the bad elements with some kind of bone to pick. Without a leader to \”bring down\”, they have no other way to control the situation then to go after everybody.

    And thanks for the explanation, rixtir. Makes me wonder how many times one officer could get away with that before judges started questioning his/her credibility.

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    Cecil July 16, 2007 at 3:53 pm

    Re: \”someone\’s\” post (#40)

    Thank you for making my day with what has to be the most rank and baseless generalization of people and their motivations that this thread has seen to date. Keep up the good work.

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  • […] Police put damper on popular weekend fun rides The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) were busy this weekend issuing citations to cyclists at two Portland biking traditions: the monthly Midnight Mystery Ride and the weekly Zoobomb….more […]

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    pushkin July 16, 2007 at 4:13 pm

    Someone (#40) –

    I see you are schooled in the classic Bushian false dilemma.

    \”Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.\”

    Time to enroll in a different school, young grasshopper.

    Not that your post was entirely without (unintended) humor, though.

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    rixtir July 16, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    Someone, Post 40:

    the dumb people

    who never get tickets, unlike all of the smart cyclists who keep getting tickets for the same thing, over and over and over again, and can\’t understand why, and who never, ever, ever stop complaining about the cosmic injustice being done to them by the anti-bike conspiracy?

    Those dumb people?

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    rixtir July 16, 2007 at 4:29 pm

    Wyatt, Post 41, you have no argument. That doesn\’t stop you, of course, from repeatedly struggling to come up with one.

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    wyatt July 16, 2007 at 4:39 pm

    Rixtir,

    You are completely right. I cannot win an argument with you.

    But I have to say that you are a shining example of how all of the pressure on the cycling community has caused it to cannabalize itself. And your rhetoric spreads like some kind of social cancer.

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    Coyote July 16, 2007 at 5:14 pm

    Gosh, I guess I don\’t really have a problem with PPB keeping an eye on 200 or so people who are meeting at midnight and traveling across town to secret party site. I am more likely to join the MMR than oppose it, but it seems like good community policing to be aware that this ride is going on and show up once in a while.

    There is no sense in the ride getting out of hand and someone getting hurt. If a few punks get rousted once in a while, that is ok with me. I got rousted a few times as a kid, err punk, and it pissed me off to no end, it also taught me a lesson about having power, and not having power. From the tone and content of the MMR open letter, it looks the the ride leader thought things were become a bit more edgy the he to be wanted anyway.

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    Henry David Thoreau July 16, 2007 at 5:16 pm

    \”Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice.\”

    That\’s for rixtir and his dumb friends that never get tickets.

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    rixtir July 16, 2007 at 5:17 pm

    Wyatt, you make the mistake of assuming that every cyclist agrees with the lawless agenda. Clearly, that is not the case.

    My personal view is that anti-social riding behavior, and its advocacy, is anti-bicycling advocacy, because it creates anger and resentment towards cyclists. And that anger and resentment boil over into incidents of harassment and violence against cyclists, and increased social resistance against the further development of cycling infrastructure. Therefore, when I advocate for riding courteously and obeying the law, I\’m advocating for creating a positive environment in which cycling can flourish.

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    rixtir July 16, 2007 at 5:19 pm

    I am more likely to join the MMR than oppose it

    I feel the same way.

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    wyatt July 16, 2007 at 5:21 pm

    Is the \”lawless agenda\” anything like the \”anti-bike conspiracy\”?

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    rixtir July 16, 2007 at 5:25 pm

    Oh, Wyatt…..

    Cool name, though.

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    wyatt July 16, 2007 at 5:32 pm

    Ditto.

    Except for the name bit.

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    rixtir July 16, 2007 at 5:37 pm

    Oh come on, wild west and all that. Except THAT Wyatt was a lawman. 😉

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    andy July 16, 2007 at 5:42 pm

    Someone (#40),
    I am reminded of the cyclist in Corvallis who believed his \”dynamic, street smart\” self could blow through stop signs without a care in the world – until he screwed up and killed a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Of course, I\’m sure that an omniscient and flawless individual like yourself would never fail to notice a \”detail\” like a pedestrian.

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    wyatt July 16, 2007 at 6:00 pm

    Rixtir,

    I\’ll have you know I haven\’t got a ticket to my name. And Wyatt Earps\’ law-enforcement methods weren\’t exactly by the letter.

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    wyatt July 16, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    Gah! Rather \”Earp\’s\”.

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    someone July 16, 2007 at 6:06 pm

    Andy,
    Your story sounds like a bs that you just made up to make a point. If its not, please let me know +/- when that happened so I can look it up.
    But the way you put it illustrate very well my point: a paranoid fear that is supposed to justify a stupid law. Do you really believe that bikes need to come to a full stop in order to avoid death?? I bet you do, just like comment #15 \”your should consider yourself very very very very lucky if your still alive if you run a stop\”. In my opinion, this is just another manifestation of fear culture that this country lives under. Pure paranoia.

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    rixtir July 16, 2007 at 6:09 pm

    I\’ll have you know I haven\’t got a ticket to my name.

    So whose name did you give?

    🙂

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    rixtir July 16, 2007 at 6:09 pm

    Not intended to be serious… 😉

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    Graham July 16, 2007 at 6:30 pm

    #37 rixter:

    \”Graham, do you honestly believe there would be a police escort at a CM on which everybody was observing the traffic laws, if CM hadn\’t cultivated a reputation for violating the traffic laws?\”

    Did I indicate that was my belief?

    If they feel the need to shadow CM as a valid law-enforcement priority, that\’s fine. I do realize CM has a confrontational history.

    However, I used my one CM experience as an example of what I\’ve seen to be the PPB\’s attitude toward bike events, as evidenced by the snarling lecture I received while while waiting as law-abidingly as can be at a stop light.

    Later in the ride my friend tried to engage one of the cops in friendly conversation – he wanted to ask about one of the \”A Bicyclist Died Here\” memorials the ride had stopped at on Belmont – and another cop rushed up and said to my friend, \”Is there a problem here? You know I saw you not come to a complete stop back there on Clay!\” All very aggressive, and, it seemed to me, unnecessarily so.

    Getting back on the topic of the MMR, it sounds to me like there was a disproportionate amount of enforcement directed at the ride, and when I speculate as to a reason why, I naturally turn to my memory of the cops\’ behavior toward me and my friends at CM.

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    logicbomb July 16, 2007 at 9:36 pm

    Lights are required by law when riding after dark. You or your bicycle must have a white light visible at least 500 feet to the front, and a red light or reflector visible at least 600 feet to
    the rear. These are the minimum
    requirements. More powerful lights will
    make you more visible to others, and help you see road hazards. A rear light is more visible than a reflector. Front white reflectors are not visible to
    motorists entering from a side street
    and do not meet legal lighting requirements.

    http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/BIKEPED/index.shtml

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    Martha S. July 16, 2007 at 10:41 pm

    Ok, this is very, very odd. I don\’t think I have ever seen anyone post so many comments; all of which either directly argue points made in someone else\’s post or just generally disagreeing with the general sentiments of nearly everyone else.

    Don\’t get me wrong, I have no problem with differing opinions and calling general attitudes into question; I feel that dialog is essential to the health of any community. But rixter, I can\’t help but feel that you\’re taking this a bit far. Your comments absolutely dominate the comments so far.

    What, my friend, is the deal?

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    JeremyE July 16, 2007 at 11:55 pm

    Someone #61 (suddenly a lot of someones around here) – See this article on this very site for more info on the Corvallis woman killed by a bicyclist.

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    revphil July 17, 2007 at 3:33 am

    fatalities caused by bicyclists do happen a few times per century. Meanwhile more than 42.000 people will die this year from auto crashes.

    That\’s 2 people since I started reading this post.

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    Matt Picio July 17, 2007 at 8:57 am

    someone (#32 and #41, double post)

    \”the kind of dumb ass that would come to a full stop on his bike, at a stop sign, in the middle of night, when there’s no one around.\”

    Right. Some of us aren\’t so dumb. There are idiots out there who drive at night, drunk, over the speed limit with no lights, in a 4,500 pound vehicle. If they\’re coasting down a hill, we may not hear them until it\’s too late.

    Everyone is not always observant enough to spot every threat at 1:30am, especially if you\’re tired and have had a few drinks. Those of us who choose to be careful are not \”dumb asses\”. I choose (generally) to follow the law. I stopped trying to get every other cyclist to do that a few months ago, when I realized that I have no control over other people, and I am not their mother. I\’m not going to call you stupid, or a dumb ass for choosing to ride however you choose to, I\’d appreciate it if you\’d extend me the same courtesy.

    There are things that \”both sides\” (a misnomer, since few of us are absolutely on one end or the other) can learn from the other \”side\’s\” arguments. It would be great if we all learned something from the discussion.

    Frankly, I don\’t care how any of you all ride, I just want us all to keep biking and to stay alive. Following the law is one method (I acknowledge that it doesn\’t always work), but most importantly, pay attention to your surroundings – be alert and ready to react to unexpected situations.

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    zb July 17, 2007 at 9:10 am

    http://tinyurl.com/2agtyx

    I made a map to argue the ridiculousness.

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    bicycledave July 17, 2007 at 11:21 am

    Zoobomb: I know that stop sign very well. I can\’t imagine what would have happened had I been walking my daughter across that crosswalk 7 hours after The Children\’s Museum was closed and 4 hours after her bed time.

    The only explanation for this is a bike targeted sting.

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    rixtir July 17, 2007 at 12:58 pm

    Martha S. wrote:

    What, my friend, is the deal?

    Statsistics. If one person is, shall we say, engaged in a conversation with five people, that one person will tend to have a higher percentage of comments than any one person of the other five.

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    SKiDmark July 17, 2007 at 2:18 pm

    I think the Police thought this was the safest location to pop Zoobomb for a STOP sign as the other locations have lots of parked cars and some traffic. I also think they thought they would have a better chance of containing the bikes, although, from what I hear, some got away.

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    rixtir July 17, 2007 at 2:55 pm

    I think the Police thought this was the safest location to pop Zoobomb for a STOP sign as the other locations have lots of parked cars and some traffic. I also think they thought they would have a better chance of containing the bikes, although, from what I hear, some got away.

    Exactly right.

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    Team 242 July 17, 2007 at 3:29 pm

    what\’s up with the jeep ads?

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    Jonathan Maus (Editor) July 17, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    \”what\’s up with the jeep ads?\”

    The Jeep ads are served up randomly by Google.

    They\’re how I make a living.

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    Frank July 17, 2007 at 3:51 pm

    Do good people disobey bad laws? Yes.

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    Jave July 18, 2007 at 10:11 am

    I was ticketed. There is no possible way that this wasn\’t a planned sting operation. there is also no possible way this was a safe place to attack. the grade of the hill and lack of visibility around the corner make this an ideal place however to injure bicyclists by setting up a three car road block.

    Rixter: Have you ever been ZooBombing?
    How can you say we are \”people (who) get together in large groups with the intent to break the law.\”
    I\’ll bet you would\’ve put a yes vote down on the portion of the patriot act that pisses on our right to assemble freely and peacefully. the only foundation for such a rude and thoughtless remark would be that we are technically a \”gang\” when assemble with the intent to enjoy ourselves without our fun depending on our wallet, and are thus we are breaking the law.
    Either way the fact remains that you are trying too hard to be right and have the last word.
    My guess is it\’s been quite a while since you got laid and you have nothing better to do than blow up this bulletin board with your condescension.
    Do you even ride a bike? (it does\’nt count if you put your full suspension mountain bike on top of your subaru and drive it to a park and ride in beaverton then get on the max to downtown in spandex so you look cool and don\’t have to pay for parking)
    You seem like the kind of guy who would watch the police slam around and rough up a young homeless kid because \”He was propably breaking the law, and the police would never overstep their boundaries\”
    I think you need to find something better to do than argue about whether or not someone spelled the possesive form of a surname properly. Qit trying to be right and go get yourself laid. It might just help your head shrink just enough that you can pull it out of your…..

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    rixtir July 18, 2007 at 4:31 pm

    Quoting Jonathan:

    rixtir, BURR, and everyone else…

    Can you PLEASE stop the personal back-and-forth?! Let\’s try and keep the comments focused on the topic at hand. Thank you.

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    rixtir July 18, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    Team, Jave, It\’s Jonathan\’s site, and I\’m respecting Jonathan\’s request. Don\’t mistake that for anything else.

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    BURR July 19, 2007 at 8:28 am

    only 20 years old and you\’re already sucking up to the man big time. pretty sad really.

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    Bjorn July 19, 2007 at 1:51 pm

    #67, The cyclist who killed the woman in Corvallis was charged by the DA but not indicted by the grand jury. There was some misinformation initially about what happened, in the end it was found that she stepped out in front of him from between parked cars and that the death was not related to any traffic violation. It was unfortunate, but the pedestrian who died was at fault not the cyclist. The DA did however waste quite a bit of taxpayer money by keeping a mentally retarded man who was absolutely no flight risk in jail on an enormous bail that he had no chance of meeting until the grand jury was called a week later. As was mentioned in the article sure seems like a much more agressive response than you get when a motorist kills a pedestrian.

    Bjorn

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    On Your Left July 20, 2007 at 2:27 am

    I do not at all agree with Rixtir\’s faith in the police, judicial system or the logic behind many bicycle safety laws/enforcement.

    However despite debating at least 5 other people, he\’s one of very few to not resort to name calling childishness. He has defended his ideology and presented it thoughtfully. I respect that, even though I disagree with 95% of what he says.

    Many of you others I do agree with, and there are many well articulated points. But I\’m appalled by the general incivility and \”road rage\” towards somebody with a different opinion. If you want to have a positive impact, persuade, don\’t bludgeon.

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    rusl July 21, 2007 at 1:02 am

    Safety enforcement upon cyclists is always a tricky and divisive issue. See the helmet debate. What it comes down to however, is more bikes on the road. Which makes it safer and better for everyone. And #2, but quite important nontheless: a bicycle does not way 2000lbs. It does not endanger other people signifigantly. Enforcement of \’safety\’ against cyclists is therefore always a politically motivated attack that does not have the interests of public safety or cyclist safety at heart. That said, try not to obsess about this, if possible. The police are a distraction and letting their mistakes ruin your honourable ways is not right. Remember the group. Support those who get singled out. And keep on riding because you know it is so right. Talk to the police as normal human beings, because that is what they are. Not superbeings. Not evil. Just doing what they think they have to do, even if it is a cowardly, stupid thing they are doing. Don\’t let their idiocy ruin it for the community. Take care and take the lane! Bike love from Vancouver!

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    rusl July 21, 2007 at 1:14 am

    I have to also say that after reading the MMR founder type letter, that you guys are running scared too much. Argue with the officers, yes! Politely. It is your duty.

    Red lights and traffic stop signs are not God\’s orders. If the officer does not know this he/she is in the wrong. Traffic signals are for signalling traffic. \’Breaking the law\’ is not what happens when signals are used in less usual ways. It is a minor misdemeanor – problematic in how it relates to the traffic agreements for order and the common good. But there are good reasons for a parade to ride in a certain way that is different from individually riding.

    Also, standing in the public street is what the public space is for. If the Motor Vehicles have made such a basic act like breathing and walking in a certain spot illegal – then that motor vehicle law is wrong.

    Subtlety and friendliness are always good ideas. There is no reason to be mean to car drivers. There is reason to be angry, but try to hold that anger in line and enjoy the riding. Midnight Mass is not just about the destination. The ends do not justify the means.

    Try to appeal to the broader public a bit more. In the USA things are getting too polarised and quiet. Dialogue is vital.

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