Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Injured cyclist looking for driver who hit him

Posted by on February 26th, 2008 at 11:07 am

Still from a KGW-TV video.

[Via KGW]

Sage Silver was hit by a left-turning car at about 10:00 pm while riding home from work along NE Alberta last Friday (2/22).

The driver stopped to make sure Silver was OK. Silver said he was fine, so the driver left the scene. But the next morning, Silver felt abdominal pains and checked himself into the Emergency Room.

Doctors at Legacy Emanuel informed Silver and his mother that he had internal bleeding in his spleen. Unfortunately, Silver has no health insurance, and he didn’t get any information from the driver.

He’s asking for help in finding the person who hit him. The only information I have is what I heard on the KGW video: the car is a white “larger American” style sedan with red interior.

If anyone has information, call the Portland Police non-emergency number at (503) 823-3333.

And, for future reference, check out this detailed checklist of what to do if you’ve been hit.

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  • Ron February 26, 2008 at 11:30 am

    Best wishes to Sage.

    It is worth repeating — if you are involved in ANY kind of accident, collision, etc, exchange information no matter how you or the other parties feel at the moment. If the other party refuses, offer to call for a police officer to perform mediation.

    Adrenaline is an incredible substance whose purpose is to give you a substantial edge in survival. Take a deep breath and exchange the information.

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  • a.O February 26, 2008 at 11:32 am

    Get well, Sage! And good luck.

    Folks, please learn from this mistake: If someone in a car hits you, you\’ve got to call the cops and you\’ve got to make sure you\’re OK. The police need document what happened, and you must realize that the adreneline often keeps you from realizing that you\’re hurt. Go get an MRI (or whatever) and let the driver\’s insurer foot the bill.

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  • toddistic February 26, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Not suprising on Alberta, I\’ve had more close calls on that street than any other.

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  • Robert Dobbs February 26, 2008 at 11:59 am

    Sorry that he got hit, but can anyone please tell me why it\’s a good idea to ride down K-Worth, Alberta, Fremont, Hawthorne, etc?

    Especially during rush hour?

    I cringe every time I see a cyclist holding up a line of 20+ cars, just knowing that his/her life is in the hands of that one impatient driver…

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  • nate February 26, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    Holy crap! Sage, hope you get well soon, man. Next time I see you, the beer\’s on me.

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  • Robert Dobbs February 26, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    Erm… didn\’t notice this happened at 10pm – so uh, don\’t let my comments hijack this thread.

    Here\’s to a speedy recovery!

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  • a.O February 26, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    @#4: Here we go again with the victim blame. I cringe every time I see this anti-cycling rhetoric. Get a clue.

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  • toddistic February 26, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    Well Robert Dobbs, I ride Alberta home every rush hour, its relatively low speed traffic street. In order to get up on the hill and into NE is to take Williams. If you don\’t mind stopping every other block, there are plenty of residential streets but if you need to get across MLK – Alberta, Killingsworth and Ainsworth are your only real good options.

    I prefer Alberta because the traffic speed is usually pretty slow during the evenings and typically enough street light. Plus there are always alot of bikes on that street so our presence is well know.

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  • L February 26, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    #7: Um, no, that\’s not anti-cycling rhetoric.

    I cringe when I see someone riding down Hawthorne, Division, etc. sandwiched between parked and passing cars. They\’re what 2 or 3 blocks from a bike avenue on Clinton/Lincoln/Salmon?

    Of course, they have the right to ride there but there\’s a better alternative 30 seconds out of the way.

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  • Russell February 26, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    To echo other peoples\’ statements make sure to get their information and that doesn\’t mean having them write it down. Ask for their insurance card and driver\’s license. Take down their full name, license #, address, policy number, and license plate. Also don\’t forget to get the phone number for their insurance agent and their personal phone number (ask for a business card if they look like they might carry one).

    Best of luck on your recovery.

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  • Dag February 26, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    I wouldn\’t say it\’s anti-cycling to say that riding on a narrow, relatively-high-traffic street is dangerous. There are bad drivers out there, and using low-traffic streets is a good way to avoid most of them. Saying that is not saying that any crash on a major street the cyclist\’s fault, just that it\’s a good idea to try to avoid meeting murderously idiotic drivers. I almost always ride on Going street (a couple blocks south of Alberta) instead of Alberta because I\’ve nearly been hit several times riding on Alberta.

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  • Robert Dobbs February 26, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    Way to heed my comments a.O. and avoid the mess. You are such a ****.

    Anyhow, now that we\’re into it, I still maintain that it is extremely foolish and only asking for trouble to ride down narrow, highly-trafficked streets when there are safer alternatives. Not to mention all the anti-cyclist animosity it generates.

    Personally, I think this happens because novice cyclists still navigate as if they were in their cars and take arterial/feeder streets as the traffic planners intended.

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  • Antonio Gramsci February 26, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    You know, I cringe everytime some ignoramus talks shit about cyclists using arterials to get places.

    Get a clue. Cyclists use arterials to get places for the same reasons that motorists use arterials. Take your pick:

    Arterials usually have controlled intersections with other arterials, making them MUCH SAFER.

    Arterials are not interrupted by stop signs every block, making them MUCH MORE EXPEDIENT than most residential streets.

    Arterials are usually CONTINUOUS, and don\’t suddenly dead end or take weird, unpredictable jogs, often dumping out into cul de sacs or deadending at freeway walls.

    Arterials are usually PAVED, unlike MANY residential streets in Portland.

    Arterials don\’t require TIMECONSUMING ROUTEFINDING RESEARCH to find one\’s way successfully, unlike residential streets.

    Arterials are usually MARKED ON ALL READILY AVAILABLE MAPS, unlike most residential streets.

    Should I go on?

    If you don\’t use a bicycle as your principal mode of transportation, feel free to shun arterials the rest of your life.

    If you don\’t mind playing a perilous game of chicken at every uncontrolled intersection with another arterial, feel free to shun all travel along arterials.

    If you don\’t have any place you need to get to on time, feel free to take residential streets everywhere and vow never to ride on an arterial.

    If you have unlimited time to spend on routefinding, feel free to shun arterials all your life.

    If you want a pretext for letting careless and reckless motorists off the hook for strict liability for the safe operation of their machinery, feel free to give safe and disciplined cyclists shit for using arterials when they get hit by the former.

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  • Jim O'Horo February 26, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    YOW!! Sage, I\’m glad you\’re still alive & going to get better. Spleen injury can be really tricky. The spleen tears very easily. You can take a hit & not have it rupture at the time, but it\’s damaged and just a wrong move before it\’s healed & regained its strength will cause a tear. The internal bleeding can send you into shock and kill you in a hurry. Get well soon.

    RE: riding on Alberta. I volunteer down @ CCC a lot & agree it\’s pretty crazy at rush hour – I\’d go south to Skidmore or north to Ainsworth. After rush hour it\’s not so bad though – often if it\’s late & I\’m taking the bus home I ride from 17th over to MLK. Never had a problem with that.

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  • Robert Dobbs February 26, 2008 at 12:47 pm


    I\’m with you on that, I usually cross MLK @ Skidmore and ride as far East as I need, then cut North on a side street if I\’m heading to that \’hood.

    Alberta can get really nuts during rush hour, I have no idea why anyone would want to ride down it.

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  • BURR February 26, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    @ #9: There are many reasons to ride on arterial streets, and last time I checked all local streets including arterials are open to cyclists. You may not feel comfortable doing it, and that\’s certainly your choice; but you really should refrain from criticizing others who do it.

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  • Matthew February 26, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    I ride Alberta at rush hour, (and non-rush hour,) and I know the alternatives too…

    Alberta is faster.

    Of course, I\’m a nut that stops at stop signs, so arterials are always faster for me than the alternatives…

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  • Robert Dobbs February 26, 2008 at 12:58 pm


    I believe can ride in the traffic lanes on most of the bridges too. Doesn\’t make it a good idea.

    It only makes sense to ride on a busy arterial if you can keep pace with traffic. I\’d wager that the cyclist commuter cruising at 30-35 mph on flatland is the exception.

    In the meantime you\’re holding up traffic, wasting a huge amount of other road users\’ time and gas, and put your life (and others\’) at risk with inpatient motorists.

    The \”fvck it, they can wait – I don\’t want to hit any stop signs\” attitude is extremely selfish, and I have no problem calling that one on its face. We\’re talking about going a block or two out of the way to avoid congested streets during rush hour.

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  • Ayleen February 26, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    There are some barriers to riding the residential streets around there, like the fact that streets on the north side of Alberta don\’t go through from 13th to 14th and the gravel death pits (fun on a chopper, not on a road bike) around 25th on the south side.

    With all those little shops, restaurants, burrito joints and cafes to peruse, Alberta shouldn\’t be a drive-down street. We need more bikes on Alberta so we can remind drivers of our presence. There\’s certainly enough reason to be there and ample bike parking, to boot.

    Speaking of burrito joints, special major shout out to DON PONCHO at 20th and Alberta for not only being super friendly and tasty since the day they opened, but also for helping out in a pinch on the Worst Day of the Year Ride when one of our burners wouldn\’t work and we needed to heat massive amounts of hot water. They graciously opened their kitchen to us.

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  • Donald February 26, 2008 at 1:06 pm


    We\’re all traffic, aren\’t we?

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  • bahueh February 26, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    I\’m with Robert on this one..I have a hard time seeing all the riders on Hawthorne that choose to ride down it during rush hour…simply because they think the law will protect them…they\’re wrong and their actions do nothing but inflame an already hostile situation. if you can\’t do the speed limit on a bike down busy arterials(most cannot)with no bike lane, its not a good idea to be there, whether they think so or not.
    its hardly blaming the victim, A.O., that is common sense no one appears to be teaching them..

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  • Grimm February 26, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    Get well soon. Hopefully you could get lucky and the driver will find this and come forward.

    I almost got taken out by a driver not yielding to me yesterday myself (right turn has the right of way you son of … !). It amazes me drivers dont see us as traffic, if I was in my car I bet he would have either yielded of at least sped up (we saw each other well before the intersection) to go through it before me.

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  • Robert Dobbs February 26, 2008 at 1:12 pm


    Yeah, maybe some traffic is more equal than others, eh?

    I don\’t feel that I have the moral right to hold up a huge line of cars during rush hour just because I have the legal right to travel on that roadway at any time.

    I have options that don\’t impede the enjoyment of efficiency of my trip and I take them. Besides, riding in heavy traffic tends to suck.

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  • rev February 26, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    heal up quick sage.

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  • Patrick February 26, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    Any car driver knows Never take Alberta if you are in a hurry. Alberta has lots of buses, walkers, skateboarders, kids, and bicyclists. It\’s a very hard street to drive on.

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  • toddistic February 26, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    FWIW, traffic at 5:30pm on Alberta barely approaches 30mph, a good pace and I\’m right in pace with the cars. If there\’s a bus in the equation I am passing cars. I\’d prefer Alberta to Killingsworth and definately Ainsworth where speeds are usually closer to 40MPH.

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  • a.O February 26, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    It\’s always impotent name-calling and empty threats with you Dobbs. I guess that\’s what people do when they can\’t hold their own intellectually.

    We\’ll ride where we want – you worry about yourself!

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  • Spanky February 26, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    I drive Hawthorne every day and don\’t begrudge cyclists the right to use Hawthorne for a moment. Sure it might mean I have to hold back to give them room (upper Hawthorne – no bike lane) but big fizz. So my car commute might take a bit longer. I might have to wait for that right or left turn to be doubly sure I am not going to take out a ped or cyclist. So what?

    The Golden Rule: treat others as you wish them to treat you. Commentary about where it is or is not safe to ride a bike on a city street doesn\’t reach the point that we all owe one another common courtesy and decency.

    Best wishes to Sage.

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  • Dag February 26, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    On Alberta the problem for me has generally been cars impatient to cross rather than unsafe passes or right hooks.

    In any case, y\’all are welcome to take cycling risks as you see fit, but I prefer to be having fun if I\’m going to be risking life and limb, and riding in car traffic doesn\’t qualify.

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  • Me 2 February 26, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    Get well Sage, I\’m of two minds on riding major streets. I cringe when I see some cyclists going down SE 39th. However, I ride a portion of NE Fremont (between NE 21 and 14th) on my morning commute. I can time it so I\’m not holding up traffic. In 2.5 years I\’ve never been passed by more than 2 cars on this stretch.

    Sometimes it is unavoidable to use major streets. Please don\’t get me started on NE Knott or some other residential street with a stop sign every other block. I have lots of first hand experience why these streets are more dangerous for me during my daily commute. Here\’s hoping for a nice bike boulvard in this area of NE.

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  • Me 2 February 26, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    One more thing to add. Since this is top of mind for many on this board. Here is a great post on what to do if you\’re in an accident.


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  • chelsea February 26, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    i sometimes ride alberta, at least for sections. usually traffic is not too much faster than me. expecting cyclists to only use specified bike routes is like expecting motorists to only use freeways. it is not always going to be practical. hope you get well soon!

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  • Antonio Gramsci February 26, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    The truth is that anyone who lives in Amsterdam or Copenhagen could take one look at the death and injury statistics on US roads and conclude instantly that \”Anyone who rides a bike anywhere in the US is a fool\” (or for that matter, anyone who drives a car). So what does it tell us? That we should cower in the corner and/or get our visas in order ASAP?

    Maybe. But another way to look at is, we should work for change, starting right now. And we should ride anywhere and everywhere that it is expedient and legal
    to do so, because cowering or running away won\’t change things, but INCREASING RIDERSHIP AND VISIBILITY OF RIDERS WILL. THAT IS A PROVEN FACT.

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  • a.O February 26, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    @#33: Ditto!

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  • Antonio Gramsci February 26, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    bahueh \”I have a hard time seeing all the riders on Hawthorne that choose to ride down it during rush hour…simply because they think the law will protect them…\” (21)

    How long have you lived in Portland??

    Are you aware that Hawthorne just happens to be the biggest connecting route between the east and west sides of this city??

    Are you suggesting that we should ride the bus across the Hawthorne Bridge?

    Or are you saying that we should take a lengthy detour as soon as we\’re across the bridge, down the Springwater trail or something, even if our destination is either right on or close to Hawthorne??

    Do you actually ride a bike daily for transportation in this city???

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  • Matthew February 26, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    I\’m not holding up traffic on Alberta at rush hour, a lot of the time I\’m being held up by it. And I\’m not going that fast, 15-20 mph when I\’m moving. The speed limit is 30 mph, but the cars don\’t (can\’t) do that at rush hour, there is simply too much traffic.

    The only good argument I\’ve heard against riding on Alberta is that it tends to have a lot of staples on it.

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  • Duncan February 26, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    Comparing Hawthorne to Alberta is apples and oranges: Hawtorne (Lower) is 2 lanes each way with an average car speed of 30 + MPH. The good for cycling: wide lanes, downhill (if your headed west). I can stay to the right and cars can pass me, and headed downhill I can usually keep up with traffic. The Bad: the speed can be higher in the evening and early morning, and the uphill: heading east I usually dogleg through Ladds because I can keep my speed up and head up Lincoln 20 30th-ish. Alberta is narrow, passing cars can be close, but the speeds are slower and its flat (more or less), I can usually keep up with traffic on it during the day. The bad: late night drunk hipsters (on cars and bikes), the buss stopping in the middle of the street (gotta keep an eye out for that!), some large cracks in the road that could eat a tire.

    Of the two I prefer Alberta because the traffic speed in my exp tends to be closer to what I can keep up with. Although the only part of Hawthorne that I think really sucks is trying to get onto Madison on 12th from Hawthorne.

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  • wsbob February 26, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    \”..INCREASING RIDERSHIP…\” Antonio Gramsci

    I think it\’s right that increasing ridership will bring about change. Increasing ridership equals increasing ownership. This is the less traumatic relative of critical mass.

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  • Dabby February 26, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Increasing ridership too much without first implementing change will result in more problems, and more deaths.

    It is a irresponsible act to attempt to increase ridership when it is impossible to protect either physically or through proper enforcement those you are encouraging to ride.

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  • Antonio Gramsci February 26, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    My remarks were not aimed generically at \”encouraging [novice] riders,\” but rather were a response to those who question the route choices that experienced riders make when they choose arterials.

    In my experience, novice riders very rarely dare to ride arterials. It is something that only experienced riders tend to do, after developing far greater confidence handling traffic than the novice usually has.

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  • Duncan February 26, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    i dont encourage anyone to ride, I just ride where I need to go. I try and replace all my two mile car trips with a bike, and as many longer trips as is practical. I dont consider this activism, i call it \”living\” and if someone sees me having fun riding, and decides to ride some too- hey that is great. I think that the rules will only change if their are more riders, not the other way round- either way I am not sitting at home holding my breath for things to chage.

    Biking isn\’t safe, but neither is taking a shower, and I do that too. In the course of biking, I may ride on an arterial, I might take a lane if I need it.

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  • BURR February 26, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    Hawthorne is a designated bike route in the city\’s master plan and cyclists got screwed by the Hawthorne Blvd. Business Association when the city developed the Hawthorne Plan and failed to include adequate provisions for cyclists on the street. A bike lane in the eastbound uphill/climbing direction from SE 12th to SE 30th would have been sufficient. As it stands now, cyclists are legally allowed to take the lane on Hawthorne, regardless of their speed, because the substandard width lanes are too narrow for a motor vehicle and a cyclist to safely share (ORS 814.430(2)(c)).

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  • Duncan February 26, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    Thanks for the info BURR- I have no issues with cars passing in my lane on Hawthorne… isnt it also true that they are allowed to because there are two lanes?

    Laws laws laws… makes my head hurt…

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  • a.O February 26, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    As it stands now, cyclists are legally allowed to take the lane on Hawthorne, regardless of their speed, because the substandard width lanes are too narrow for a motor vehicle and a cyclist to safely share (ORS 814.430(2)(c)).

    That\’s correct, BURR.

    I find it apalling that, even among so-called bicyclists, we can\’t even get people to respect our legal right to use the roads. You people ought to be ashamed of yourselves – you\’re the biking equivalent of the ragin\’ cager. You should get the hell out of my city and move somewhere where the bikes stay on the sidewalks and the cars do as they please, because that\’s not Portland. And to the extent it is, CHANGE IS COMING – you\’ll see.

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  • Boo Hoo February 26, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    Wow, talk about empty threats, a.O.

    Now how many cyclists actually adhere to the laws that they expect drivers to?

    I suspect cyclists actually commit more infractions on a per mile basis than autos do. Please go to Mississippi and Shaver and tell me what you see.

    If you run a red light, this is what happens. Why do I think everybody here would still blame the driver?


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  • Joe February 26, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    That seems to be the on going issue these days, cars want to push the speed and never really respect a cyclists speed.

    hello media this is the problem: always has
    been. Im a moving abject also


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  • rixtir February 26, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    I\’m appalled that we live in a society where, despite it\’s great wealth, it\’s considered acceptable– normal even– for people to not have health insurance.

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  • Matthew February 26, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    Response to R. Dobbs (#4):

    I don\’t get your logic; riding an arterial at rush hour holds up traffic? These arterials (Freemont, Alberta, etc.) are super slow during rush hour…it\’s the cars that slow US down!

    I also would caution against being to ready to give up some of your rights; you may miss them when they are gone!

    I ride Freemont almost every morning on the way to work. I\’ve had some close calls (usually due to a speeding or careless motorist; but that is another issue), but choose to ride this street rather than the arterials due to many of the reasons stated by Antonio (well stated by the way…)in #13. We, as cyclists have every right to use these roads. I urge everyone to exercise these rights and ride wherever you are legally able.

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  • wsbob February 26, 2008 at 7:16 pm

    \”It is a irresponsible act to attempt to increase ridership…\” Dabby

    It might be an irresponsible act if people were to deliberately increase ridership as a means of appling pressure for improvements to a specific locale. When an increase occurs naturally, out of a growing, enthusiastic interest in cycling as alternative transportation to motor vehicle travel, as it seems to have been happening, I would say it\’s not irresponsible.

    My thought is that more than anything else, the visible fact of greater numbers of cyclists on any particular street or road in need of improved or expanded provision for bike travel, is the condition that will prompt action to bring about those changes most quickly.

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  • dano February 26, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    I\’d really like to see more east/west bike streets (think Ankeny) in this town. You don\’t see very many people riding up Burnside or Stark because they\’re all on ankeny. Maybe if they blocked through traffic to cars on a street like Skidmore at MLK, 15th, etc we\’d see less incidents like this.
    Is anyone working on this?

    Also, so that half of you will ignore the rest of this post, it really drives me nuts to see people riding they\’re bikes on MLK. I know they\’ve got a right to be there and I often follow them at their speed, blocking people from passing them when its tight. But man, it sure seems like it wastes alot of gas along with any goodwill, when there\’s Vancouver and Williams a few blocks over. Shoot, Garfield, one block over, is great for a long stretch.

    Anyhow, speedy recovery.

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  • Pete February 26, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    Jeez, a guy got hurt and is asking for help. Let\’s think about him and stuff a sock in the self-important opinions.

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  • sh February 26, 2008 at 11:21 pm

    It feels weird to agree with the gist of Dobb\’s comments today, yet I do (though perhaps not the spirit with which he usually voices them).

    I live in Alberta. I walk or drive (and occasionally cycle) on Alberta nearly every day. And every day on Alberta there are cyclists who cannot carry the speed of car traffic, yet insist on riding on this street, therefore forcing a lineup of cars to accumulate behind them, because there is little room to pass.

    On the occasions when I\’m in my car I find these cyclists rude and irritating – particularly since I know that only 3 blocks south sits Skidmore, a great bike route. Same thing with Prescott; bike route 1 block south, yet cyclists insist on riding this narrow-laned street — frequently at night with no lights btw (a nice touch).

    If you can carry the speed of traffic, then by all means, take the lane, you\’re entitled to it. But damn, if you\’re pedaling 10 mph on a 30mph road, perhaps you can deal with a few stop signs on the bike route.

    (And naturally I wish Sage SIlver a swift recovery).

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  • b February 26, 2008 at 11:35 pm

    my heart goes out to sage. i was involved in a similar type thing last monday afternoon on burnside and mlk. when i got hit i had so much adrenaline that it took me twenty minutes to realize that i didnt feel good. then two hours to realize i was really messed up. i\’m still waiting on the mri for the shoulder.

    fwiw, i\’m still looking for a witness to the accident…

    and heal up quick sage. i hope you find the guy, and he pays for all of your stuff.

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  • rixtir February 27, 2008 at 12:06 am

    Boo Hoo, Post 45:

    Now how many cyclists actually adhere to the laws that they expect drivers to?

    I suspect cyclists actually commit more infractions on a per mile basis than autos do. Please go to Mississippi and Shaver and tell me what you see.

    If you run a red light, this is what happens. Why do I think everybody here would still blame the driver?


    That guy in Chicago was entirely to blame for his own death.

    As far as I can tell, that has nothing to do with what happened to Sage, so why do you bother coming here to bring it up? is it a defect in your character?

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  • Duncan February 27, 2008 at 7:46 am

    I ws thinking about this, and while the sign on the road may say 30MPH, there is another speed limit that comes into play, and that is Safe and Reasonable. On Alberta, with its narrowness, the fact the bus stops in the middle of the street (not to mention multiple cross walks), frequent entry of side traffic, and the regularity with which drunk hipsters stumble into the road from Bimks, there is no way that a car should go 30 MPH except maybe early sunday morning.When I drive up there I pretty much keep my car in second gear most of the way- say 20-25 mph.

    I did a little math, and the difference between doing 30mph and 15mph along the length is about 4 minutes, and that is assuming that along that length you would never stop for a car or pedestrian. I personally have four minutes for safety. My first priority behind the wheel is to not kill anyone… but YMMV.

    On the side comment on running without lights, I had an expierence awhile back when driving down Alberta (in my Trooper, so it must have been years ago) in the rain when I had to slam on the breaks for a woman with no lights or reflectors, wearing black, riding down the street- I swear she looked like a shadow and it was close… well wouldnt you know we ended up at the same bar and I went and talked to her- I said \”I dont want to hit you, please get some lights\”. She said \”I never thought how I looked from the road.\” It was kind of an emotional moment for both of us.

    I think that instead of getting pissed at people we should talk to them- sure there will be some asshats out there, but I think a lot of the issues come from ignorance not ill will.

    I also think that something that was mentioned in another discussion: more focus on the rules regarding bike/car interactions in the DMV tests. People need to be aware that bikes have a right to the road, any road, including Alberta.

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  • sh February 27, 2008 at 9:20 am

    I did a little math, and the difference between doing 30mph and 15mph along the length is about 4 minutes, and that is assuming that along that length you would never stop for a car or pedestrian. I personally have four minutes for safety.

    I think that it\’s easy to assume moral righteousness in the Bikes Belong argument (to various degrees of success). And while all cyclists naturally believe that \”bikes have a right to the road,\” (as do I) I also believe that if there is a convenient bike route only blocks away from a main arterial, it is a better, safer, and more polite choice to use this route rather than knowingly hold up traffic when you cannot maintain a cadence at the speed of the street.

    And despite A.o.\’s remarks above, I\’m not at all ashamed of this. Nor do I follow the argument that if bikes aren\’t able to travel as fast as cars on Alberta, then certainly those cars are driving too fast. That is simply silly.

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  • Anonymous February 27, 2008 at 9:30 am

    Everyone needs to look at the issues of cyclists traveling on busy streets/arterials and traffic delays in a more general context. First of all, no accident statistics have ever shown it to be dangerous to ride on arterials with heavy traffic, even ones with narrow lanes where cyclists have to occupy a full lane. You may get some vocal complaints by motorists, but even their complaints are unwarranted. Arterials tend to be very safe because of their disciplined traffic movement and stop sign protection of right-of-way. There has never been any demonstration of a higher rate of rear-end collisions either, they are so rare as to be pretty much nothing on typical accident statistical studies.

    Secondly, we cannot ever have a road transportation system without delays. Bicycle traffic almost always redistributes motorist-caused delays (this has been studied) and only rarely creates delays of its own, mainly on narrow, 2-lane roads with heavy traffic (which means the road is at or above capacity and should be widened). The net delay caused by bicycle traffic is so insignificant, that it should only rarely be considered in special cases. It only exists in the anecdotal complaints by motorists already stuck in heavy traffic. You never hear of them wanting other motorists thrown off the road or forced to drive on the sidewalk.

    Hawethorne Blvd. is a classic example of a situation where the public decided to retain on-street parking and narrow lanes at the expense of increased congestion. If they wanted easier overtaking of cyclists on the road, they would have eliminated the on-street parking to widen the outside lane. Because the decision was to retain on-street parking, society has to live with the small delays (or rather redistribution of motorist-caused delays) imposed by bicycle traffic. That is simply the consequence of limiting the finite capacity of a road.

    Overall the delays that cyclists impose on traffic are so small that the only complaints that ever exist are anecdotal from impatient motorists. No study has ever demonstrated a measurable net delay imposed on motorists by bicycle traffic because it doesn\’t exist. Motorists impose far greater delays on each other, but you never hear a motorist harass another one to get off the #@$@ing road and drive on the sidewalk. So if you decide to ride on a road that some on this blog would advise you not to because you might \”block\” traffic or they consider it \”rude\”, recognize that it is not your fault for delaying traffic (or redistributing those delays), but society\’s fault for failing to properly accommodate the amount and type of traffic that desires to use that road. That\’s just how the world turns.

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  • Robert Dobbs February 27, 2008 at 12:14 pm


    Chris, someone seriously needs to knock that chip off your shoulder. What are you gonna do, fine me?


    Anyhow, it is pigheaded to the extreme to insist that drivers respect us then at the same time give literally dozens of them the finger so a single cyclist can avoid a few stop signs on his morning commute.

    It does not help cycling as a whole to do this. It does not give cyclists the kind of \”visibility\” they need. It is just plain selfishness, wrapped in some poorly-reasoned moral high ground. You have to be seriously delusional to think that the average motorist will look favorably upon this type of behavior.

    And to those of you who took an extra dose of their hyperbole pills before writing, taking a bike route off a major arterial is not \”running and hiding\” or \”cowering\”.

    I think Duncan @55 has it right – Dialog is the the way to solve this. Chris Heaps\’ and others self-righteous invectives makes it so much harder to meet in the middle on these issues, but it is very effective in making them appear more committed to the cause to their sycophantic supporters. Now, where have I seen this before…?

    Get over yourselves, when push comes to shove you don\’t wanna be under the tires of a fatigued car commuter. You can fight it on the road, but that is completely idiotic from a risk/reward perspective.

    These are ultimately public policy issues relating to infrastructure, pretty dry stuff that needs lots of public support to change. You\’re not gonna win a lot of hearts and minds by pissing off the majority of road users.

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  • Robert Dobbs February 27, 2008 at 12:21 pm


    Just to highlight my point regarding Chris Heaps\’ application of Jingoistic BS to the debate:

    How does one become a so-called cyclist?

    I ride daily but disagree with the opinions of the Great White Hope, Christopher Heaps. Do I have to turn in my bike shoes and get a Comfort Saddle? Maybe I should trade in my road bike and get a plasic-bearing\’d huffy? Perhaps I should give my tools to someone more worth and stop offering to do rebuilds for friends?

    Chris, perchance is your jersey a Brown Shirt?

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  • Duncan February 27, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    1) for me 15mph on a bike is loafing, 17-22 typical
    2my average speed in a car on alberta is 23-25 (say 24)

    so assuming all other things being equal, being behind me will cause you to get to MLK about .5 minutes later than otherwise- assumng that you didnt pass me somewhere along the way.

    Is that still \”to much\”?

    Living in a city requires concessions- I will let a car pass me on a narrow street, but only when it is safe.

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  • Robert Dobbs February 27, 2008 at 12:35 pm


    Perception is key. Humans are notoriously bad at making snap quantitative comparisons. I\’d wager that the average driver wouldn\’t care if you were going 1mph slower between lights, but this is a bit of a straw man…

    15mph may be loafing for you, but many novice – or \”so-called\” to use Chris Heaps\’ parlance – cyclists push ancient \”vintage\” steel around, and 22mph would be a lot of huffing and puffing for these guys/gals.

    If you can keep pace with traffic on narrow streets, by all means ride with traffic on narrow streets. You\’re not hurting anyone. If you look over your shoulder (assuming you bother) and see a line of a dozen cars and a big gap in front of you, it\’s likely that the motorists\’ perception is that YOU are the problem – not \”Society\” (seriously??) as Anonymous (@57) suggested.

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  • Antonio Gramsci February 27, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    Robert Dobbs:
    Your \”philosophy\” works only for people who fit a certain profile, and that is generally this: People who either own cars and ride occasionally or take public transit and ride occasionally.

    What you fail to understand is that IT DOES NOT WORK FOR EVERYONE. There are those of us who do not own cars at all, and ride thousands of miles a year, sometimes even cross country, through new cities we\’ve never even been to before in our whole lives.

    I, for instance, rode my bicycle here all the way from San Diego, California. There is no way I could have acquired road maps that would have displayed all the \”bike friendly\” alternative routes that you would have me limit myself to using.

    I had to rely on maps that mostly showed arterials. I\’ve learned to ride safely in traffic, including arterials. I could not safely and expediently have substituted a bicycle for my car as my main mode of transportation had I restricted myself in the way you want me to.

    Generally, when I\’m commuting to the same place every day, I prefer the least stressful and most pleasant route consistent with a reasonable degreee of expediency and safety. Thus, I tend to avoid arterials, when practicable.

    However, as I\’ve explained, there are many instances when it is NOT practicable.

    For your further edification, here\’s just one example of a \”bike route\” (in fact, a \”bike boulevard,\” would you believe!) that I encounter all the time that poses a serious dilemma and is NOT a reasonable alternative to the parallel arterial that it is supposed to substitute for:

    SE 41st/42nd from Burnside to Woodstock.

    It is a very poor alternative to SE 39th, because it has numerous uncontrolled intersections with high speed arterials, especially Powell, that are both dangerous and inexpedient to cross by bike. (In particular, the signal at Powell does not activate for bicycles. But at, for example, Division, there is no signal at all, and what\’s more, Division takes a blind jog, which motorists seem to make no effort to slow down for.)

    So sometimes I take SE 39th through there, when I\’m feeling energetic and don\’t want to deal with those bad intersections. And sometimes I take my chances on the \”bike boulevard\” when I\’m not feeling energetic and am in no mood to risk any encounters with belligerent motorists who think bikes are illegal on arterials.

    Now, what I suggest to you is that the solution to this problem is NOT to browbeat those like myself who chooses not to own a car.

    Instead, the solution is to apply strict enforcement of the law to motorists who are operating dangerous heavy machinery.

    Someone operating dangerous heavy machinery needs to have a professional attitude. Driving up alongside someone and suddenly yelling at the top of one\’s lungs is NOT professionalism. As a matter of fact, it is a crime. It is called \”menacing.\”

    If we can convince the \”Officer Picketts\” of the world to start rigorously enforcing the law against motorists who irresponsibly and dangerously operate their heavy machinery, we can solve a lot of these problems.

    If motorists become convinced that society takes their responsibilities seriously and will not be tolerant of actions that endanger anyone else on the roads with their multithousand pound highspeed metal glass and rubber machinery, they will behave differently.

    If motorists come to believe that misbehavior on their part will result with a high probability in arrest, fines, and even possible jail time, most of them will become pussycats.

    This, in turn, will make arterials more pleasant and less hazardous to navigate by bike (as well as making every other place more pleasant and less hazardous as well).

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  • mcark February 27, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    This is why you call the police when you have an accident……You\’re suppose to call the police department and go the clinic \”just in case\”….That\’s irresponsible of the biker and flat out stupid of the driver to hit someone and act like everything is ok.

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  • Robert Dobbs February 27, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    Antonio @62

    I\’m not talking about those who ride cross-country on their bikes. People like yourself are clearly very experienced cyclists and generally make highly reasoned decisions on when and where to ride. Given the time and care folks like you put into their routes, there isn\’t a need to compromise much in enjoyment or efficiency.

    So let me just move that straw man of yours over…. here.

    Now take a deeeeeep breath, and exhale. Good? Ok.

    Generally, when I\’m commuting to the same place every day, I prefer the least stressful and most pleasant route consistent with a reasonable degreee of expediency and safety. Thus, I tend to avoid arterials, when practicable.

    However, as I\’ve explained, there are many instances when it is NOT practicable.

    That\’s pretty much my entire argument. See, we\’re agreeing? That\’s not so bad, is it?

    There are more often than not other options beyond major collectors and arterials for cyclists to take during times of peak traffic. Sometimes there isn\’t and that\’s a bummer (mostly for the cyclist), but I never said \”Take the bus\” or \”Get in your car\”, did I? I just said that its better for everyone to explore other routes. You get to know your neighborhood more and don\’t have to put your life at risk or suck as much exhaust. The Motor-Bike hate slides down a notch for everyone too. Win-Win!

    And for what its worth I think motorized vehicles are incredibly inefficient, dangerous and deserve much more enforcement than they receive today. But, its the tyranny of the masses there, and I wouldn\’t hold my breath for drastic change until external anti-driving pressures (gas prices) become more significant.

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  • Anonymous February 27, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    Dobbs, quit flip flopping, either side with the people with a cyclist-inferiority complex or stand up for your rights, your fence-sitting and general whining is annoying.

    Should we always assume that if a cyclist is taking a heavy-trafficked, narrow-laned road that he or she failed to find a more appropriate round-about route so he/she could stay out of the way of cars? Maybe we can have the cops pull every cyclist over riding on Hawthorne during rush hour to interrogate them and see if they are actually traveling somewhere on that road and if they could have chosen a different route.

    Yes, society decided to keep Hawthorne a narrow-laned road, it (and apparently you as well) will have to live with the traffic and delays. If you could understand the real cycling issues, you\’d stress the facts (that cyclists cause insignificant delays to motorists and have the right, anytime, anywhere to use a road) and ignore those few motorists that are too stupid to recognize that. Nobody has to ride on a busy road if they don\’t want to, but those who do are allowed to do so if they obey the law. That\’s called a free country. If it\’s a narrow, 2-lane road, pull off the road periodically (slow-moving vehicle rule) to disperse traffic. That\’s common courtesy. Rarely is the delay more than a few seconds, motorists can either queue up or change lanes.

    It\’s sound like you\’re worried that those few cyclists that ride on the narrow, busy roads will \”hurt relations with motorists\” or something like that. Cyclists have rights and responsibilities. You stand up for your rights, you respect the rights of others. It\’s that simple. If a motorist chooses to disregard that right, then the police need to get involved, which means cyclists need to have good relations with the police. Unfortunately, our relations w/ the police are not that great, and the more we cower into a corner, the less they\’ll care. Stand up or put your head in the sand.

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  • Matt Picio February 28, 2008 at 12:10 am

    Robert Dobbs said (#4) \”can anyone please tell me why it\’s a good idea to ride down\” ?

    Sure – because it gets cars used to operating around and accommodating bikes. The best way to get cars to respect bikes as vehicles is to force them to interact with us.

    Hell yes, it\’s dangerous, at least in the beginning.

    Also – use it or lose it. If you don\’t exercise your right to the roads, some fool with a government title will try to take it away. The price of liberty is eternal vigilence, et. al.

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  • Jim O'Horo March 7, 2008 at 10:04 am

    HEY ALL YOU FOLKS OUT THERE! Does anyone out there remember that this article was about Sage Silver, not where or how to ride?

    How are you Sage? Better I hope. The reason I know about spleens is that years ago I almost lost mine when I had a ruptured kidney. I got lucky and the spleen held together, so I still have mine. I assume they removed yours. Have you healed up enough to get back on your feet? Did the motorist ever come forward?

    Best wishes.

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  • Zagreus March 11, 2008 at 11:55 am

    Has the driver made contact with Sage since this thread began last month?

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  • Meghan March 11, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    I spoke to Sage\’s mother yesterday, and she said that the driver has not come forward. Sage is doing better, though, and starting a new job this week.

    But that person who hit him really needs to take responsibility for their actions!

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  • zagreus March 11, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    I agree with you completely. Is anyone doing a benefit for Sage–or is there a bank account established for donations to pay his medical expenses?

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