BikePortland.org

Citizen initiated citation will be filed tomorrow

Lawyer Christopher Heaps.
(Photos © Jonathan Maus)

Christopher Heaps, the Portland attorney who’s leading an effort to bring a motor vehicle driver to justice for failing to yield to a bicycle in a bike lane, plans to file the formal citation at the Multnomah County Courthouse tomorrow.

Heaps has completed an Oregon Uniform Citation and Complaint (a.k.a. a traffic ticket, scroll down to see it) that lists Lisa Wheeler as the defendant.

Wheeler was driving south on N. Interstate Avenue on the morning of November 6th when she made a right turn onto Greeley Avenue and collided with Siobhan Doyle. Doyle (who has been in contact with Heaps and supports this effort) was riding her bicycle in the bike lane and the collision sent her into the trauma center at a local hospital with serious injuries.

Wheeler was not issued a citation at the scene of the collision (even though there is an Oregon statute (811.050) which requires motor vehicle operators to yield to bicycles in a bike lane).

Heaps is moving forward with a Citizen Initiation of Violation Proceedings process as laid out in ORS 153.058. The process relies on an Oregon law that gives any citizen the right to file a citation against another citizen.

Siobhan Doyle

Heaps learned about the process from veteran Portland lawyer Ray Thomas. Thomas introduced the process and published a pamphlet about it nearly two years ago.

From his office in downtown Portland, lawyer Chris Heaps said, “It’s the same form the officer writes up when you break a traffic law…But instead of the officer serving you the ticket and then filing it with the courts, we’re doing the opposite. We’ll file this citation with the courts, who will then serve it to the defendant.”

According to Heaps, once the citation is filed at the courthouse Wheeler will receive it in the mail and will have to make a court appearance. Heaps is already working with witnesses and plans to present the case with hopes that he’ll “establish sufficient evidence to cite her for failure to yield.”

Here is the citation Lisa Wheeler would have never seen if it weren’t for Heaps, Thomas, and a few concerned citizens.


(Click to enlarge)
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