Splendid Cycles Big Sale

KGW: Driver was “frustrated cyclist wasn’t sharing the road”

Posted by on August 21st, 2007 at 11:17 am

Last night, KGW aired a report about Friday’s road rage incident. The headline of the story on their website is “Driver frustrated cyclist wasn’t sharing road”.

Reporter Jane Smith presented the incident like this:

“Police say he (Eschweiler) got into a confrontation with bicyclist Ben Ramsdell. Investigators say Ramsdell kicked Eschweiler’s vehicle. Eschweiler than struck Ramsdell with his SUV. A second bicyclist coming from the opposite direction pedaled straight into the path of the collision…”

The piece then featured this statement from Portland Police Bureau (PPB) PR guy Brian Schmautz:

“We have our motorist giving us an indication that he’s had some frustrations with bicyclists in the past, he doesn’t feel that bicyclists..really, move to the right as they should, and that creates quite a bit of conflict.”

KGW’s story and Schmautz’s comments have already raised concerns from two BikePortland readers who watched it last night.

One commenter said they were “particularly peeved at the Police Spokesman’s comments,” and another said, “I noticed the seemingly biased reports,” and then added, “are the police reports just as one-sided?”

I spoke to the PPB’s Schmautz this morning and expressed my concerns with what I heard in the story. Specifically I asked about KGW’s claim that “investigators say” Ramsdell kicked the SUV.

I’m concerned that this is being perpetuated as fact when in reality it is merely the testimony of the driver and remains unproven.

Schmautz clarified that PPB investigators on the case, “have seen no foot marks or anything that support this theory”. He said KGW asked why the driver did this and that he answered the question based on claims made by Eschweiler.

So, is it accurate to say that “investigators say Ramsdell kicked the SUV”? Or should KGW have said, “investigators say the driver claims Ramsdell kicked his SUV”?

Schmautz also expressed challenges faced in dealing with this case.

He said the collision was initially responded to by Traffic Division investigators. Then, once it was clearly seen as an intentional act, a criminal investigation crew came in. At that point, he said there was a “disconnect between the two disciplines (criminal and traffic investigators)” and because of that, all the evidence, information, and witness interviews had to start from scratch.

There are clearly many pieces left to put back together before we have a clear picture of what happened in this case. In the end, Schmautz said, “it will eventually all come together.”

In the meantime, we should watch closely how the media reports about this case. They play an important role in how the general public perceives this incident (which impacts their behavior and attitude toward cyclists on the roads).

Let’s hope the reporting is sensitive and as balanced as possible.

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

65
Leave a Reply

avatar
65 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
29 Comment authors
AdrielAustin Cycle News » Stuff I found on the web » Drunk cyclist attacks bicycle advocate in car after the driver tells him not to do something.jeffKenrixtir Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
rixtir
Guest
rixtir

Schmautz clarified that PPB investigators on the case, “have seen no foot marks or anything that support this theory”. He said KGW asked why the driver did this and that he answered the question based on claims made by Eschweiler.

So, is it accurate to say that “investigators say Ramsdell kicked the SUV”? Or should KGW have said, “investigators say the driver claims Ramsdell kicked his SUV”?

Sounds like appallingly bad reporting…

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

Not to try to blame the second cyclist, but something is unclear in this report.

Was the second bicyclist riding against traffic? Was the driver going the wrong way? Did the driver veer across lanes after striking the first cyclist?

What exactly happened to create the circumstances where \”A second bicyclist coming from the opposite direction pedaled straight into the path of the collision…”?

BURR
Guest
BURR

to many SUV drivers from Oregon City, \”Share the Road\” means \”Get the F**k Out of My Way\”

brian
Guest
brian

It is local news. Sensationalism is much more important when reporting local news that actual investigative journalism. Shoot, if any of these \”reporters\” had any skill, they wouldn\’t be working at a local news station.

It\’s raw, but it\’s also the truth.

wsbob
Guest

\”So, is it accurate to say that “investigators say Ramsdell kicked the SUV”?

Or should KGW have said, “investigators say the driver claims Ramsdell kicked his SUV”?\” BikePortland/Maus

The latter of the two is the correct way to have related this development of the story if, as seems to be the case, this is how the PPD is relating the details to the news.

KGW seems to be sloppily inflating their presentation of the story to headline grabbing hysterical proportions. This is how facts and the true nature of what happens in certain incidents often gets completely twisted and lost in translation. We might as well be getting the story from the National Enquirer.

Maybe in a satirical sense, KGW would be more appropriately named, KGW/National Enquirer affiliate.

SKiDmark
Guest
SKiDmark

I find it interesting that the \”cyclist speaks out\” video doen\’t work, but all the other videos work.

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

From an earlier report on KGW

\”The car continued on about 75 feet, sideswiping a car and hitting a truck before turning a corner where Mastne, who was riding towards the car, was then hit, investigators said.\”

I assume the car and truck also did something to impede the free flow of Johnny\’s precious SUV. Also from the look of the windshield he was probably having trouble seeing where he was going as he left the scene which may be why he hit the second cyclist…

I wonder why since he was clearly fleeing the scene when the second cyclist was hit that there was no hit and run charge.

Bjorn

Todd B
Guest
Todd B

Jonthan,

Thanks for sticking to this issue and working with PPB to clarify and correct the information that the public has ready access to.

I looked on line and on TV (late last night and this morning) but did not see any coverage of this.

[Much of the AM TV news was all fluff…other than the hurricane and skitching death in Vancouver.]

Martha S.
Guest
Martha S.

\’ \”The perception on the part of the of the motorist was that the bicyclist was not yielding the roadway to him and that leads to the motorist striking the bicyclist,\” said Sgt. Brian Schmautz with Portland Police Bureau.\’

He wouldn\’t get out off may way so I ran him over. What\’s that? brakes you say? why, what are those? >_

Me 2
Guest
Me 2

Schmautz\’s comments really bother me. First I\’ve never seen a cop of all people speaking on behalf of the accused and communicating why he committed a crime. He is PPB\’s spokesman not the accused\’s. Let his attorney make statements on his behalf.

Second, Schmautz says move to the \”right as they should.\” For me, watching the report last night it was unclear as to whether this is the accused statement or a police officer interjecting as an authority figure and saying cyclists should move to the right.

My initial and still reaction to Schmautz\’s comments are… thanks, by communicating how the accused is trying to justify his actions you\’ve just contributed to making the roads a more dangerous place for cicylists.

Jonathan Maus (Editor)
Guest

Me 2,

I too was a bit uneasy about how Schmautz\’s comments sounded. But remember, he probably spoke for a long time and they only used a snippet of his quotes.

That being said, I do think he has to be very careful how he chooses his words.

I agree with you that it sounded as if he was speaking for the accused, not simply relaying what the accused said… but I\’m trying not to base my judgments on a short TV news clip.

Matt Picio
Guest

\”Sounds like appallingly bad reporting…\”

KGW = appalingly bad reporting. No, wait a minute, that\’s KOIN. KGW is merely \”bad reporting\” and \”sensationalistic\”.

Thanks, Jonathan, for staying on top of the story.

Matt Picio
Guest

BURR (#3) – it\’s not just Oregon City. I\’ve seen the same attitude throughout Clackamas County. If my experiences around Newberg last week are any indication, Yamhill County seems to be even worse – and the bigger the SUV, the more likely the problem occurs.

janis
Guest
janis

Unfortunately, it may be bad reporting but a lot of people heard a police representative say that \”cyclists are suppose to move to the right\”. That really hurts our forward movement with educating the public about cyclist\’s rights.

jeremy
Guest
jeremy

hey Janis..
your \”rights\” as a cyclist under Oregon law require you to move to the right side of the road as is \”reasonable\” under the flow of traffic…meaning you CANNOT ride in the center of the lane if you are not traveling the speed of traffic…you MUST be over to the right side of the road as is safe. this is VERY subjective throughout PDX, but the law doesn\’t allow any of us to impede traffic simply because we feel like it or think we have a \”right\” to the road.

I race Cat. 3 during the summer months and can often travel around PDX streets at 25mph when I\’m training..so I can often take center lane without impeding the flow of traffic…if I start to slow, I am VERY careful to move over the right side as quickly and efficiently as possible…I sometimes get in trouble with vehicles who do not expect me to be moving this quickly (cut me off with a right turn in front of me, for example).

Little poor Johnny\’s frustrations aside, the guy needs some anger management..as may the cyclist in question if he indeed kicked in somebody\’s car fender..

SKiDmark
Guest
SKiDmark

The cyclist didn\’t kick the fender. The Police said there is no evidence that the cyclist kicked the fender. The car driver is just trying to create sympathy for his plight. There is sympathy to be had, he intentionally ran down a cyclist with his car.

SKiDmark
Guest
SKiDmark

There is NO sympathy to be had.

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

NOW you\’re making sense, SKiDmark. 😉

SKiDmark
Guest
SKiDmark

jeremy, you might want to read ORS a little more carefully. The statute states that you can take the lane if it is unsafe for a car and a bike to travel next to each other. I half having a half inch between the end of your handlebars and a car passing you qualifies as \”unsafe\”. The statute also states you must get over and allow cars to pass when are able to, and the fact that he was passing parked cars says to me that he could not get over yet. So the car driver was impatient and blew past the cyclist, causing him to run into some parked cars. Then he informed the driver of how he was endanger and the driver said \”F**k you\” with his finger. And then when the cyclist was in his path and to the right judging by the damage, he struck the cyclist with his car.

This is by no stretch of the imagination the cyclist\’s fault, and there is nothing wrong with informing a car driver that they almost killed you.

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

On the Portland Tribune site, somebody commented that we don\’t know that the driver intended to buzz the cyclist.

I would suggest that his extended middle finger is ample evidence of his intent…

N.I.K.
Guest
N.I.K.

your \”rights\” as a cyclist under Oregon law require you to move to the right side of the road as is \”reasonable\” under the flow of traffic…meaning you CANNOT ride in the center of the lane if you are not traveling the speed of traffic…you MUST be over to the right side of the road as is safe. this is VERY subjective throughout PDX

Actually, it\’s exactly as the language itself implies: it\’s subjective to what\’s on the roadway. Parked cars? Dangerous ebris off to where the slower-than-automotive-traffic normally goes? That\’s not safe. Despite every third cyclist you see who weaves between parked cars or crosses intersections in the left-most edge of the crosswalk before darting out of the way of the curb and back into traffic, this behavior is not required when it\’s clearly unsafe to do so (let alone in other instances where impeding through-traffic just happens, such as waiting to safely execute a left turn). It\’s one of the few common sense bits of bike-centric legislature we\’ve got written as such.

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

Actually, it\’s both subjective, and objective. The cyclist makes a subjective decision about what is \”practicable.\” A police officer also makes a subjective decision about what is \”practicable.\”

If the cyclist is ticketed, the court is supposed to apply an objective standard to \”practicability,\” based on what a \”reasonable person\” would have done under the same circumstances.

BURR
Guest
BURR

Regarding ORS 814.430(2)(c) – it is the cyclist\’s decision to make regarding what constitutes a hazard s/he must avoid, be it parked cars/dooring hazard, drainage grates, debris or too narrow lanes. It IS NOT the following motorist\’s decision to make.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

Sounds to me like he did kick the car.

You can butter it up all you want, but some it is still going to run off the toast (I have no idea what that means, by the way).

I understand where this is coming from, but many people, here and on the streets, don\’t want to imagine it is true that he kicked the car.

While the fault for the accident is definitely on the driver, I would think that many of you here who are such big \”Bicycling Advocates\” would recognize how much REALLY knowing whether or not he kicked the car can help us all.

I hope he didn\’t, but everything points to the fact that he may have.

SKiDmark
Guest
SKiDmark

I believe the cyclist, AND the Police (!), before I would ever believe a car driver who intentionally rammed a cyclist.

peejay
Guest
peejay

I have used my open palm to slap cars that get in my way, after verbally warning them not to do so. I see absolutely nothing wrong with this, since the slap is designed to make maximum noise with no damage. It sure wakes up an otherwise inattentive driver, though.

You\’d better believe that I check my escape routes first!

wyatt
Guest
wyatt

\”Sounds to me like he did kick the car.\”

I\’ve had people try to hit me in the past and I did not contact their vehicle in any way. Why is it hard to believe that the driver is merely trying to \”cover\” his own ass, Dabby?

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

Even if he did kick the car– and there\’s no reason to believe that he did kick the car, given the statements from the police investigators– the driver was not justified in running him down.

Nick
Guest
Nick

Of course, cyclists in Portland have to complain about biased reporting…

Anyone who complains about Portland news organizations being biased AGAINST bike riders should really buy themselves a clue.

Nick
Guest
Nick

By the way, the actions of a looney in a car cannot be condoned. The problem is, Portland has an attitude where road rage incidents from cyclists are condoned. As is dangerous riding, riding illegally at night, etc.

Mr. Viddy
Guest

Agreed, the driver had no right to run down the two cyclists but if the guy kicked the car or cussed at the driver then he also helped escalate the situation.

But I forgot, this is all about us vs. them so cyclists have every right to slap a vehicle open handed or do anything else they please. After all we are on bikes, we are superior.

G.A.R.
Guest
G.A.R.

I would like to call attention to a discrepancy between the KGW content and the KGW headline. Headline writers are such exhibitionists!

If you follow the link to KGW you find the phrase \”… the bicyclist was not yielding the roadway …\”. Above this is the headline with the phrase \”sharing the road.\”

I am a cyclist who frequently \”takes the lane\”, as directed by the Oregon Cyclist\’s Manual, when circumstances dictate. It seems to me that they certainly could \”dictate\” along that narrow stretch of Clinton Street.

KGW\’s equating of \”yielding\” and \”sharing\” is wrong. Sharing the road is a broad principle. It means agreeing that there are a lot of different kinds of users, and they all have a place. Sharing the road might mean moving aside to let motor vehicles by, but not in places where it is unsafe to do so. In those places, sharing the road means \”I\’m using this part of the road and you\’re using the part behind my part.\”

OBEY
Guest
OBEY

If all the cyclists posting here would actually obey the traffic laws, you\’d find yourselves more accepted by the motorists.

(Yeah I know, everyone here stops at all Stop signs. ROTFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

Mr. Viddy, I do not buy into that \”us vs. them\” attitude at all. I don\’t think it\’s conducive to cycling advocacy. Nor do I believe in actions that escalate tensions between cyclists and drivers, whether the escalation is between individuals, or groups. Again, that escalation is not conducive to cycling advocacy.

I\’m merely observing that in my opinion, whether the cyclist kicked the vehicle or not, the driver has no excuse to run the cyclist down.

Mr. Viddy
Guest

rixtir, I was not coming down on you at all, it was a comment by peejay above that got me a little irked.

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

OBEY, as everybody here has heard from me on numerous occasions, I *do* obey the traffic laws, including stopping at all stop signs.

Can you say the same?

SKiDmark
Guest
SKiDmark

OBEY, next time you are in your car play this fun game : count the moving violations made by the cars around you. That include not signalling when turning and changing lanes. Extra points if you see one not yield to a bike in the bike lane when making a right turn. Yes, that is against the law. Better yet, hop on a bike and count how many people in cars needlessly endanger you by \”not seeing\” you.

This whole \”bicyclists are traffic scofflaws but car drivers aren\’t\” idea is completely delusional.

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

SKiDmark, you forgot one: Observe how many drivers are violating the speed limit…

BURR
Guest
BURR

5-10 mph through a stop sign is OK for a motorist but not for a cyclist??? ROTFLMAO!!!!

BURR
Guest
BURR

based on the weight of the vehicle, a cyclist can stop in less than 1/100 of the distance a motorist moving at the same speed can.

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

OBEY\’s argument appears to be that until cyclists as a group obey all traffic laws, then cyclists as a group will not be accepted by motorists.

Presumably, the inverse is also part of OBEY\’s argument: Until motorists as a group obey all traffic laws, then motorists as a group will not be accepted by cyclists.

Is that how it works, OBEY?

peejay
Guest
peejay

OBEY:

If you cut me off and I catch up with you, I will slap your car. If you do it again, the U-lock comes out. I am a reasonable person, but if my life is endangered by your inattentive or malicious behavior, all bets are off. \’Nuff said.

drbolsin
Guest
drbolsin

biased? the Oregonian is blatantly left. I am happy when there is some balance on the other side around here.

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

the Oregonian is blatantly left.

My turn, I guess:

ROFLMAO

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

Oregonian is blatantly left?

Move over rixtir, there\’s gotta be room on that floor for me too.

BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHH!

This is the Oregonian that endorsed Bush in 2000? Right? And hasn\’t met a big business ballot initiative that it didn\’t like? Right? The Oregonian that pushed 26-91? Yup.

drbolsin, you gotta start hanging out with some of us who are really \”blatantly left.\”

Seriously.

bab
Guest
bab

drbolsin: ummmmm… when did road rage in any of its forms become a left/right issue?

marc
Guest
marc

the oregonian a \”left\” paper???!!!

i\’m going to go with you\’re REALLY wrong on that one.

Ken
Guest
Ken

Well OBEY, on the off chance you are a troll who actually comes back to read responses let me point out some other facts than the ones mentioned already.

If a cyclist is breaking the rules of the road and/or cycling recklessly, he/she increases the risk of getting themselves hurt, or worse, killed.

When a driver in a car does the same thing, they increase the chances of hurting or worse yet, killing an innocent person. Which situation seems more unfair and aggregious to innocent parties?

Yet somehow drivers seem to give a free pass to other drivers but treat cyclists like the scourge of the Earth. As someone who has spent more miles on the road driving than probably anyone reading this, I never can understand this illogical type of thinking.

We know that cars kill around 40,000 people a year. Do you want to tell me how many people are killed each year by a cyclists disobeying the law? Do yourself a favor, educate yourself about the facts, identify the real problem on the road and start to clean your own back yard before you worry about your neighbors.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

By the way, I also slap cars, not to dent them but to wake them up as to what is going on.

I am just saying, this is a cycling advocacy website. Knowing whether or not the kicking happened, and allowing other to possibly learn from a mistake, if that is what happened, would be the ultimate goal here.

Also, increased driver education, based on a public display of the penalties brought on this driver for the incident.

The combination of these two facts equals education .

SKiDmark
Guest
SKiDmark

People drive sooooo slow here. It is why I parked my motorcycle and why I hate to drive. It isn\’t the speed traffic travels at that bothers me, it is all the inattention.