The Worst Day of the Year Ride is February 11th

Road rage incident sparks media frenzy, spurs us-them mentality

Posted by on July 10th, 2008 at 8:17 am

This is the newsstand edition of today’s Oregonian.

“Cyclist clubs driver with his bike”

“Bike-car clash morphs into melee: Police say a drunken cyclist used his ride to club a motorist as a mob formed”.

These are the front-page, above-the-fold, lead headlines in the Oregonian today that have quickly caused a frenzy in the local media and among many Portlanders since reported by the Oregonian last night.

Here’s the opening line:

“The cultural clash between Portland bicyclists and motorists took a surreal turn Sunday night when a motorist involved in a tiff with a bicycle rider turned out to be a long-time advocate for cycling.”

The situation involved a man in a car, Colin Yates, who was driving in Southeast Portland and then got into an altercation after he chided a guy on a bike, Mike Steven McAtee, for blowing a stop light.

(The story reminds me of when I got flipped off for doing the same thing — except I was on my bike.)

McAtee’s booking photo.

Yates and McAtee reportedly met up a few blocks later, things escalated, and a melee ensued. Since the incident took place on one of Portland’s busiest bikeways, according to the Oregonian story, many other people (the “angry bicyclists” as the Oregonian referred to them) stopped and stood around while things unfolded. McAtee was reportedly very upset and confrontational, perhaps spurred on by the fact that he was allegedly intoxicated.

McAtee was ultimately charged with third-degree assault, criminal mischief, driving under the influence of intoxicants and disorderly conduct.

Officer Robert Pickett (a regular contributor to is quoted in the story as saying, “It’s almost kind of quintessentially a Portland thing.” This quote is being misunderstood. I believe Pickett is referring to the fact that even the person driving the car was someone who also regularly rides a bike (which is illustrative of how many people ride in Portland), not that McAtee’s reaction (or the resulting incident) was normal for Portland or somehow indicative of the community in general.

Not surprisingly, based largely on the way the story was reported, comments on the Oregonian’s online story (and letters to the editor will no doubt take a similar tone) are rife with the same anger and venom we have seen many times in the past.

“Portland bicycling community seriously needs to try to reign in these outlaws.”

“Typical stupid bicyclist. They break the law, you call them on it and they flip out. Too bad he didn’t get beat up some more.”

One commenter even posits that I’m purposely keeping quiet on the story:

“Convenient time for the forums to be “down for maintenance… “We’ll be back soon” (after our extremist sub-culture’s media exposure on this event has passed)”

A bike/car road rage fight would have been enough red meat, but the fact that Yates (the guy in the car) is a self-described “bike advocate for more than 30 years,” and the fact that McAtee was allegedly drinking and seems to have gone ballistic (swinging his bike like a weapon toward Yates), are a story that is simply irresistible to the local media.

This incident is unfortunate on many levels.

First, let’s remember that the Oregonian reporter was not on the scene. The source of her information should be kept in mind as you read the story.

Most troubling to me is the fact that it will be covered so broadly in the local media (so far this morning I’ve already done interviews with KPAM and KINK radio morning shows). Why does this bother me? Is it because I don’t want to face the music that some Portlanders have bad traffic etiquette? No.

One fact is that I am contacted frequently by people on bikes who are the victims of road rage and near-misses. They call or email me after being run off the road or being scared by the intentionally aggressive behavior of someone else on the road. I rarely cover these stories, in part because it is so common, but also because I realize interactions between road users is a part of being in traffic.

It’s similar to how I don’t cover all the bike/car collisions I hear about. They are unfortunate, but they are expected outcomes of sharing the road (and hopefully they’ll happen less as we learn more about multi-modal street designs).

But more importantly, I do not see the world from the view of someone being a “bicyclist” or a “motorist”. Close readers of this site will notice that for several months now I have never used the terms myself.

I feel that the “-ists” are nothing more than labels and that they only lead toward more us vs. them reactions.

I am not a bicyclist or a motorist, I am a person. I hope someday everyone begins to understand that the way we choose to move around the city does not define who we are.

I also look forward to the day when an argument in the street between two people (even if they are both, gasp, “cyclists!”) does not end up all over the news.

[Editor’s note: I heard about this incident right after it happened, but I was working on another story and decided not to follow up on it right away.]

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. Thank you — Jonathan

  • miguelaron July 10, 2008 at 8:22 am

    please try not to blow stop signs.

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  • KT July 10, 2008 at 8:25 am

    Well written, J.

    I agree, we are all people; our mode of transportation shouldn\’t matter. We should treat everyone the same way we want to be treated: with respect.

    In the paper-paper (as opposed to the online-paper), this story was front page news: top of the page, above the fold, the first headline you see. This will definitely spur more \”bikes vs car\”, \”us vs them\” behaviors, and not necessarily positive ones.

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  • KT July 10, 2008 at 8:26 am

    PS: When will the forums come back? I really miss them!

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  • btodd July 10, 2008 at 8:29 am

    The bicycle is for escape. Let\’s build some trails and hit the woods.

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  • SkidMark July 10, 2008 at 8:31 am

    I think it is actually good when a cyclist stands up to a motorist. It lets motorists know that they can\’t push all of us around, that some of us may fight back. They reason motorists pull most of the sh!t they pull is because they think there won\’t be repurcussions.

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  • never heard of him? July 10, 2008 at 8:33 am

    Who is Colin Yates, anyone know? Seems like our town has a lot more self described cycling advocates than cycling advocates sometimes?

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  • Jill July 10, 2008 at 8:35 am

    2% of the population are yahoos. They are cutting people off in cars, or jerks in line at the grocery store, or fighting at a bar. Occasionally they happen to be on bikes.

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  • Tasha July 10, 2008 at 8:35 am

    Sometimes it\’s nice to be both, so that you can understand both points of view. I bike a lot. I drive a little. I get both sides of the picture and I do my best to be courteous whatever mode of transport I\’m using that day. It saddens me when I see this aggressiveness on either side when we\’re all just trying to get to work/school/home. It annoys me when I see people, whether in a car or on a bike, blow stop signs and/or lights without even slowing down. It irks me when people, whether in a car or on a bike, feel a sense of entitlement to breaking the law and putting others in danger. The attitude on the roads needs to change. No one is \”better\” than anyone else on the road. You may choose to only bike, you may choose to drive a Prius. Good for you. But being self-righteous about it doesn\’t get anyone anywhere. Be respectful. Be courteous. Remember the cliche: you catch more flies with honey than vinager. End of soap box. Thank you.

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  • Ben July 10, 2008 at 8:40 am

    Really good point. rarely covers any of the car-nearly-hits-bike stories or driver-swerves-and-shouts stories… because \”interactions between road users is a part of being in traffic\”. And also because generally, the cyclist is unable to identify the driver — who accelerates away.

    You rarely cover these. The mainstream media NEVER covers these. Editors don\’t think stories about car-nearly-hits-biker are sexy.

    That said, this story is hurting the bicycle community. If Yates really is a cyclist who was trying to caution a reckless fellow biker (and didn\’t use his car recklessly to stop the guy), he ought to be getting applause from us. I bike everywhere and cautioned young guys about blowing reds and gotten the same F-you attitude the story says he got.

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  • shooter July 10, 2008 at 8:42 am

    I couldn\’t agree more J. The reality is that I both drive a car and ride a bike. I\’m not either/or. A car pushing me off the road pisses me off just like a bike blowing a stop sign in front of me.

    It all gets back to people and their behavior, not the type of vehicle they choose to use.

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  • bean July 10, 2008 at 8:43 am

    Hey Skidmark:
    That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever read. So, the only reason you personally don\’t break laws is because of the possible repercussions? Otherwise you would act like an rude, stinkin\’ idiot all of the time?
    J: great point of view in your article. I can only imagine what you had to stew on before writing it.

    Personally, I don\’t think it is advisable for anyone to \”police\” someone else\’s actions. You never know who you are dealing with. Its a big world with a lot of freaks.

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  • Russell July 10, 2008 at 8:43 am

    SkidMark, there\’s a massive difference between someone standing up when an injustice is visited upon them and someone acting belligerently when another person has, to all evidence, simply pointed out a wrong. All evidence, including another cyclist\’s witness statement, points to McAtee attacking, not \’standing up to,\’ Yates.

    Riding a bike does not give one a free pass to violate laws (i.e. stop sign/light laws) and then get indignant when they are confronted about violating those laws. Being a one ton metal box does not give one the right to act like a dickhead either. I, much like Tasha, ride A LOT, walk a lot, and drive very little. I understand the need for people using either mode of transportation to show respect and patience to each other. This respect includes following the rules of the road.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) July 10, 2008 at 8:44 am

    \”That said, this story is hurting the bicycle community.\”


    We must stop self-marginalizing ourselves by using labels like \”bike community\”. This incident hurts the Portland community.. it is not about solely the \”bike community\”. the sooner we stop trying to label people and place them in definable groups the better.

    in my mind, there is no \”bike community\”… we simply live in a community where a lot of people ride bikes and a lot of people love them, create things around them, advocate for them, etc.. … there\’s a major difference

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  • Bobkat July 10, 2008 at 8:44 am

    This wasn\’t a confrontation between a \”bicyclist\” and a \”motorist,\” but rather a drunken hothead and someone who should have saved his critique of the other\’s actions for a more constructive moment. Yelling at anyone, either from a bike or a car, isn\’t going to change anybody\’s mind about anything. Throwing your bike onto someone for yelling at you is just f-ing stupid. (sigh…)

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  • Todd Waddell July 10, 2008 at 8:47 am

    Colin Yates is, or was since he appears to be moving to Colorado, a mechanic at the downtown Bike Gallery. I think he may have been the lead mechanic there.

    He\’s certainly one hell of a good wrench. Whenever I needed my bike tuned \”just so\” Colin was the guy to see. I\’ll really miss seeing him there.

    I will also say that in my interactions with him, Colin seemed like a down to earth guy. I\’m really sorry that his last interaction with the Portland bike scene was so negative.

    Regarding the coverage, I\’m glad the Oregonian seems to have ferreted out what actually happened. I\’m just sorry the lead of the story didn\’t say, \”Drunk moron accosts fellow cyclist who happened to be driving his car.\”


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  • B.C. July 10, 2008 at 8:48 am

    Excellent post. I hope the people who are making comments on Oregonlive would read this and see that Mike McAtee does not represent all bikers in the city, but was just some drunk idiot that happened to be riding a bike.

    Read the comments. Pretty scary.

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  • Rando-Nista July 10, 2008 at 8:53 am

    it\’s like every discussion ever had in the comments and forums on this site just happened in one incident… the perfect storm.

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  • Mark P. July 10, 2008 at 8:56 am

    Great post Jonathan. It is sad that it\’s making such big headlines since as you pointed out, road rage against people on bicycles happens with greater frequency. I guess it\’s a classic case of man bites dog.

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  • JH July 10, 2008 at 9:00 am

    This drunken idiot should be made to publicly apologize for his actions. There are a lot of people doing a lot of hard work for the bicycle community. And as cyclists we need to chastise these people who undermine the efforts of people working hard for us. We are all in this together.

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  • Andy July 10, 2008 at 9:03 am

    Just as Jill\’s said, there\’s yahoo\’s everywhere. (although I\’d venture to guess it\’s more than 2% ;)) Just so happens this time it\’s someone who decides using a bike as a melee weapon would be the way to go.

    Just like the guy who nearly runs me off the road while he\’s making a right turn into traffic, decides *I* am to blame and flips me off.

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  • Jason July 10, 2008 at 9:04 am

    Thanks for posting this, Jonathan. Granted, this is indeed a bit of an asshole vs. asshole rather than bike vs. car thing.

    My wife and I came up with an analogy for what Mr. Yates was doing though (Mr. McAtee\’s response was wholly inappropriate, of course): Driving in a car and chastising a cyclist for his riding behavior is very much like waving a loaded gun and telling someone to watch out where he\’s swinging a very small stick.

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  • Metal Cowboy July 10, 2008 at 9:06 am

    Hot time, summer in the city, back of my neck getting awful gritty.

    Jonathan\’s point about shifting our speak and mindset away from a bike community to a city where one of our major ways of getting around is by bike, this is key – I\’m getting a guest column together about how this is why cities in Italy felt so biek friendly even though they did not have major bike infrastructure, or could have used more. It\’s the attitudes of people, in cars, on bikes andd on foot that make the difference, that said, stupidity is a resource that, unlike oil, will never run out, so in any situation you find yourself in on the streets, outbursts and hand gestures and blowing lights, whatever you are using to get around, this helps no one.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) July 10, 2008 at 9:07 am

    \”Driving in a car and chastising a cyclist for his riding behavior is very much like waving a loaded gun and telling someone to watch out where he’s swinging a very small stick.\”

    that\’s a very important point Jason. I agree. Many of the vitriolic commenters, bike haters, and members of the local media who don\’t regularly ride a bike, don\’t understand the psychological stuff going on in situations like this.

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  • Jed July 10, 2008 at 9:08 am

    According to the Oregonian, the guy\’s name is Steven McAtee. Jonathan… your article says his name was Mike McAtee….. Which is correct?

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  • Aka July 10, 2008 at 9:09 am

    It\’s hard not to blow stop sign. you guys know what I mean…

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  • SmartPatrol July 10, 2008 at 9:11 am

    STEVEN McAtree is an idiot, to be sure. No excuse for his actions. But Yates should have kept his thoughts to himself. Confronting people on the street is risky (obviously). And did he really believe that this guy was going to modify his behavior? Come on.

    What always surprises me is the vitriol of the motorists comments. What is it about drivers that makes them so upset when they see bikers break the law? How does it affect them in any way?

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  • prtlndntv July 10, 2008 at 9:12 am

    While the actions of McAtee can be written off as those of a drunken hothead, the more telling part of the article is how a mob of fellow cyclists formed around the scene as McAtee accosted the driver. This group behavior speaks to the us v. them angle that is so appealing for the media to pick up on, and which makes it such a hot button issue for motorists.

    \”About 25 to 30 people were gathered, and police described the atmosphere as hostile towards the motorist. Some witnesses were afraid to speak up for Yates.\”

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  • JP July 10, 2008 at 9:14 am

    JH – What?? We don\’t live in a dictatorship. Do you think further dividing people is going to help?

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  • Lynne July 10, 2008 at 9:15 am

    +1 for Colin. He was the manager of Beaverton Bike Gallery a few years back before moving to another store. I can\’t imagine him doing anything more than telling the cyclist he ran the red and it doesn\’t help the general perception of cyclists any.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) July 10, 2008 at 9:17 am

    \”the more telling part of the article is how a mob of fellow cyclists formed around the scene as McAtee accosted the driver.\”

    prtlndntv… remember that this is a very popular bike boulevard street with a lot of bike traffic… and there was likely confusion at the scene as to what happened.

    also remember that the Portland Police were quick to characterize a spontaneous dancing episode on Alberta Street during Last Thursday as a \”riot\”… so don\’t believe everything you read in the paper.

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  • brian July 10, 2008 at 9:25 am

    \”Driving in a car and chastising a cyclist for his riding behavior is very much like waving a loaded gun and telling someone to watch out where he’s swinging a very small stick.\”

    I fully disagree with this statement. And it does not seem to apply to the situation.

    Someone who see\’s someone else acting like an idiot should speak up. This sounds dorky but.. Traffic is a community, all particpants need to speak up and \’chastize\’ the IDIOTS what ever they may be riding/driving. That is how community/cooperative environments work.

    Enforcement can\’t do everything.

    Education does next to nothing.

    If you behave like an idiot on the road and all you neighbors tell you so, and the fellow road users tell you your an idiot. You are probally going to be stop being an idiot.

    I applaud Yates for being speaking out.

    I hope McAtee gets jail time.

    I will continue to speak out against idiots when ever I encounter them. Be they on bikes or driving Hummers.

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  • Lazlo July 10, 2008 at 9:26 am

    This is just great. The Oregonian leads with \”Cyclist clubs driver with his bike\”, in huge type; below this is \”Iran tests missiles in range of Israel\”. Makes me wonder if Rupert Murdock bought the Oregonian. I\’m already getting the comments from coworkers, like \”I think it\’s great that more people are riding bikes, but a lot of them are rude jerks.\” Or \”I know you\’re not like that, but I think your the minority.\” This is an unfortunate road rage incident, and I\’m glas Jonathan characterized it that way. One traveler attacked another on the road, regardless of bike vs. car. And SkidMark, this guy was not standing up to a motorist, he violently attacked someone who verbally chastised him. I\’ll only point out bad cycling behavior if someone actually does me some perceived harm, like running a stop sign when I have the right of way, or passing too close without warning. I also bike and drive; whichever I choose on a given day does not categorize me. What really gets me is The Oregonian devoting nearly the entire top half of their front page to this dog bites man story.

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  • Anonymous July 10, 2008 at 9:27 am

    perhaps people should mind there own business more often. if you dont want to run red lights, then dont. if your not a cop, keep your opinions to yourself. otherwise you come off as a self richeous asshole.

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  • Dave July 10, 2008 at 9:33 am

    It\’s unfortunate that 1) we all get put into categories and groups (race, religion, transportation, take your pick) 2) those categories and groups always contain belligerent, angry, self-centered people and 3) people are really eager to find those belligerent, angry, self-centered people acting out in society and then say \”see, those people are all angry and belligerent and don\’t care about anyone else!\” I think it\’s unfortunate whenever that happens, no matter which group of people it is that is getting unfairly labeled.

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  • John July 10, 2008 at 9:34 am

    There are a lot of latent death-threats in the Oregonians comments section, which is scary. I like you distinction that we are all people, Mr. Maus. It\’s good to keep in mind.

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  • kg July 10, 2008 at 9:39 am

    Thanks a lot McAtee. What a jerk. The reaction of the crowd which according to the story really formed after said jerk had just gotten a little of what was owed to him speaks to the ever present feeling of threat most frequent cyclists feel from some motorists. I\’m sure most of use have been intimidated by someone in a car, it happens all day every day. So if you come on a scene of a conflict of this nature it would be easy to make errant assumptions. That is the problem with stereo types and assumptions, they are just as likely to be wrong as not.

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  • PoPo July 10, 2008 at 9:39 am

    Very thoughtful commentary, Jonathan, and thanks for clarifying the intent of my \”quintessential\” comment–that people who ride bikes and people who drive cars are often the same people, particularly in Portland.

    I also kept saying that we are all traffic, and that we are all simply trying to get to where we are going via different modes of transportation, but that stuff didn\’t make it into the article.

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  • Robin July 10, 2008 at 9:41 am


    I want to give you props on the language points your making. I love the \”bike Community\” as much as I love the \”Visual Arts Community\” as well as some others. I be involved as much as I can but sometimes feel bit looked down on because of a perceived lack dedication to \”the group\”.

    It\’s terrible this happened, but I\’m happy to see we are having a respectful dialog about some really important stuff.

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  • Steve Brown July 10, 2008 at 9:44 am

    I am mildly amused by the incident. It really illustrates just how much our behavior on the road impacts others. On foot, two wheels or four, the golden rule is the only rule.

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  • maxadders July 10, 2008 at 9:44 am

    I encourage all of you to write the Oregonian to complain about their trashy, sensationalist approach:

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  • Grimm July 10, 2008 at 9:44 am

    I love that a road rage between someone on a bike and in a car in Portland is front page news. When in other cities if a road rage incident happened and someone was shot and possibly killed, itd be lucky to see page 4.

    Its amazing how this town gets so worked up over the details of what makes a functional society.

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  • Brad July 10, 2008 at 9:45 am


    Much of your coverage on a site that has become the de facto voice of cycling in this city does give credence to the notions of \”bike community\”, \”bike culture\”, and all manner of \”bikey\” labeling. In fact, many posters on this site revel in those labels.

    While I am not suggesting that this become a sanitized and PC site but when new riders and non-cyclists hear about and visit what do they see? Lots of fringe culture, weirdos, n\’er do well \”activists\”, run-ins with police, etc. (Pedalpalooza coverage for example) If they look at the posts, they read loads of anger and anti-everything-but-bikes sentiment. My question is, are we putting our best face forward? Or are we reinforcing the negative stereotypes put forth in the old media? In many ways, the attitudes expressed here are as frightening as those posted at OregonLive.

    We as cyclists really need to clean up our act. Car drivers are the majority and feel a sense of entitlement and righteousness. That\’s a fact. We should rightfully hold them to account for stupid and dangerous behavior while also displaying zero tolerance for our own kind that engage in similar acts. We should stop publically celebrating outlaw events like the Zoobomb, Critical Mass, Naked Ride, etc. if their acts engender ill will towards the greater number of people that happen to utilize bikes. How pissed would the bike community be if someone organized an outlaw \”Drive Your Cars on the Springwater Day\” or an evening series of \”No Headlights on Bike Boulevard Drives\”? Yet, we do similar things under the guise of \”bike fun\” and \”protest\” and tell non-cyclists to get bent when they object.

    We have reached a very critical juncture in Portland. High oil prices, environmental awareness, and traffic gridlock are putting more people on bikes and disrupting the comfortable lifestyle that most commuters have taken for granted. We are mixing on the roads in ever increasing numbers. How do we want this to evolve? As a peaceful coexistence with motorists based on predictable behavior and mutual respect? Or as an \”Us vs. Them\” pitched battle with many real casualties? I believe that we are headed down the path of confrontation largely because Portland\’s bike community lacks the maturity and common sense to affect compromise and take the long view. In my opinion, BikePortland should focus on those truly rallying for positive change and stop glorifying / enabling the aspects of our community that most Portlander\’s see as the \”bike problem\”.

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  • Leat July 10, 2008 at 9:47 am

    I commute to work by bike, but drive for longer trips. And I am all for people speaking out when they see something sketchy happen, we wouldn\’t need the cops so much if we all looked out for each other. But this is a little scary sounding, a mob of people acting aggressively towards a guy simply because he was in a car. We need a new attitude than the flip off in your face one we have adopted for dealing with crazy people in cars.

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  • Patrickz July 10, 2008 at 9:49 am

    Jonathan\’s position is right on. I\’m not surprised at how fast the the extreme reactions float to the surface, but I\’m also relieved to see how most of us choose to be civilized, however difficult it may be sometimes.

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  • Cruizer July 10, 2008 at 9:50 am

    Aka (#25) McAtee didn\’t run a stop sign, he ran a stop light. IMHO there\’s a big difference.

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  • maxadders July 10, 2008 at 9:52 am

    SkidMark: \”I think it is actually good when a cyclist stands up to a motorist. It lets motorists know that they can\’t push all of us around, that some of us may fight back. They reason motorists pull most of the sh!t they pull is because they think there won\’t be repurcussions.\”

    Exactly. As I rode to work this morning it dawned on me that I\’d probably think twice now about yelling at a motorist for doing something stupid and potentially life-threatening for fear of repercussion spurned by this very story. That\’s so very, very wrong! Cyclists and pedestrians need to make their presence known and respected, and some loud words are just the tip of the iceberg– sometimes it feels like a struggle to simply not be killed, much less feel like an equal user of our public roadways.

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  • maxadders July 10, 2008 at 9:56 am

    Leat: \”But this is a little scary sounding, a mob of people acting aggressively towards a guy simply because he was in a car.\”

    If I saw two people fighting in the street after an accident– car vs. bike or car vs. car or bike vs. bike– I\’d probably stop to intervene, call the cops and take video with my cell phone. It\’s what any responsible citizen would do these days, not the action of a \”mob\”.

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  • thornton July 10, 2008 at 10:03 am

    two guys get in to a fight, it happens all the time, rarely is it on the cover of the paper. people fight , we cannot stop that, we need to stop labling it as some kind of culture war

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  • aaron hayes July 10, 2008 at 10:03 am

    The headline for this story is so large, I could read it from the street as I rode by a paper box. Please write the Oregonian and ask them to stop this kind of sensational coverage.

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  • SkidMark July 10, 2008 at 10:05 am

    bean, I wasn\’t talking about myself. I make my choices on the street based on my own safety and the safety of others. I do put me first, as a matter of self-preservation, because those those big tin boxes on wheels can kill you.

    Russell, plenty of motorists get indignant when you point out that the moving violation they just made almost killed you. Some of them even get violent. Is that OK? I just think it is about time that the shoe is on the other foot. I don\’t agree with what he did, it was way over the line and uncalled for, but at the same time, I think it is important for motorists to know that they can\’t bully cyclists, that we are not all wimpy little peaceniks, and they they may not be as safe as they think they are in their tin box.

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  • jc July 10, 2008 at 10:07 am

    This is exactly the problem I have with alot of bicyclists in this town. They feel entitled and that they deserve something because they are riding a bike. But in fact, most of them are aggressive, do not obey traffic laws and ride drunk more than we would like to think. I hope the idiot McAtee loses his job with city.

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  • vanessa July 10, 2008 at 10:09 am

    This reminds me of the media and how they deal with the issue of wolves. More livestock dies each year from eating poison weeds than anything. Way farther down the list, coyotes and dogs are responsible for some deaths. Wolves make up less than one percent of livestock deaths , yet if one wolf kills any livestock, it is always front page news.
    It is sad the media choses to put this front page, screaming it out.
    It is also sad to see bicyclists using their bikes as weapons. During the naked ride, towards the end of it at Thurman and 23rd, there were 3 guys corking Thurman. A car was slowly, stupidly, sneaking behind them, and I saw one guy pick up his bike and slam it on the car…maybe it is the same guy as this a-hole.
    The naked ride was amazing, but I saw 2 separate incidents of aggressive a-hole cyclists, both men.
    I did witness a woman driver aggressively trying to harass a male cyclist on my street the other day.I do not know what led to it, but it was insane watching this car trying to run down the rider.
    please people, do not escalate to craziness!

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  • Tim July 10, 2008 at 10:09 am

    \”What always surprises me is the vitriol of the motorists comments. What is it about drivers that makes them so upset when they see bikers break the law? How does it affect them in any way?\”

    I commute by car and bike when I can. I get upset at any type of motorist when they break the law. The laws are there to keep us safe. But the difference between cars and bikes is a big one, i.e. a couple of thousand pounds.

    I don\’t want to be the one who has to live with the burden of killing or seriously injuring someone because they broke the law. And the simple fact is, if I hit a bicycle it\’s going to do a lot more damage to the driver than if I hit another car.

    If someone on a bike chooses to run a red light (which in my opinion happens much more frequently by people on bikes vs. people driving cars) and I hit them in my car they are likely not going to walk away. When a car and a bike collide, the car always wins.

    I too have been flipped of by someone on a bike when I, in my car, let them know they ran a red. Flip me off all you want. If it makes them think twice next time, good.

    Several years ago in Eugene I did hit a bicycle. Thankfully, it was a very minor collision at a residential intersection and no one was hurt. But the person on the bike was riding at night without a light, wearing black pants and a hoodie, and going the wrong way on a one way street. Had he been riding properly, i.e. using a light and not been traveling the wrong way on a one way street, the incident probably never would have happened.

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  • El Biciclero July 10, 2008 at 10:10 am

    SmartPatrol —
    You ask, \”What is it about drivers that makes them so upset when they see bikers break the law? How does it affect them in any way?\”

    I think it violates their sense of justice and \”fairness\” (I know, life\’s not fair). It is comparable to the outrage one feels when somebody else \”takes cuts\” in line, gets away with cheating on an exam, or shoplifts without getting caught. The thoughts we have in these example situations are, \”Why do I have to wait in line while that dude takes cuts?\”, \”Why did I knock myself out studying while she just copied the test answers from somebody else?\”, and, \”Why am I paying my hard-earned cash for things that guy is getting for free by stealing?\”

    I think most of us would feel like the situations in my examples are \”not fair\” and there should be some type of consequence for the rule-breakers. If I still get into my movie on time and find a good seat, then the line-cutter didn\’t really affect me–but I\’m still outraged. If I still pass my exam without cheating, then the cheater didn\’t really affect me–but I\’m still miffed. If I can afford to buy the things I want or need, then the shoplifter didn\’t really affect me (except that the price I pay is probably inflated to account for some amount of theft loss)–but I\’m still disgusted.

    I also think there is the underlying fear that one day, someone\’s disregard for the traffic laws WILL affect me because they will run into me or vice versa, thereby thrusting me into a potentially tragic, life-altering situation.

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  • pdxrocket July 10, 2008 at 10:12 am

    Bully cyclists? I ride and drive, and if a cyclist pasts me on the LEFT and runs a stop light, you bet I\’m gonna lean out the window and give him a piece of my mind. That cyclist put himself and possibly the driver of any other vehicle at risk. He deserves any flack he\’s gonna get from this, he\’s a numbnut.

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  • andy July 10, 2008 at 10:12 am

    Red lights and stop signs are there to ensure the safe flow of \”traffic\”. So to say that when cyclists blow through them, it doesn\’t affect me, or because I\’m not a cop, I should mind my own business, is ridiculous. It\’s simply a safety issue.

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  • bahueh July 10, 2008 at 10:16 am

    Incidents like these are a double edge sword for cycling advocacy…working hard to bring cycling and bike commuting to the forefront of people\’s thinking and daily existence….which HAS been positively covered by the media…then having to defend itself when one a-hole brings negative coverage…

    having the spotlight on you can either be good…or it can be very very bad…just means everyone is watchin\’.

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  • Leat July 10, 2008 at 10:16 am

    maxadders, did you actually read the article? It was not a group of people respectfully documenting the event with their phones. It scared people. My point is this, I am actually the type to track down crazies in cars and ask them to step out and deal with me (they never do). The other day I saw this huge guy on a bicycle with bike tatoos all over his bod. When he got cut off by someone in a car, he road up along side him, raised his fist, pumped it in the air, and yelled something to the effect of \”HEY, you must be in a really big hurry! But watch out for me!\”, with a big smile on his face. I think the effect was better.

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  • Carrie July 10, 2008 at 10:16 am

    Going off topic a little, Maxine Bernstein is a horrible reporter. She constantly skews the facts in favor of causing a storm. Whenever I see an article she has written, I treat it like I\’m reading an article out of US Magazine.

    Props to JM for recognizing that and helping us understanding what truly happened, without all the emotion.

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  • My 2 cents July 10, 2008 at 10:21 am

    I think bobcat and Shooter Lazlo and SmartPatrol make a good point about it being a behaviorial problem more than a Bicycle/Vehicle problem.

    Now I wasn\’t there, but having seen similar altercations between individuals (not \”cyclists\” or \”motorists\” as Mr. Maus has correctly pointed out) it sounds like two people, to varying degrees, each thought the other was a jerk, had to have the last word, and were each willing to ratchet it up to no end, just to show how \”right\” they are. Again, not saying that\’s what these two did specifically, but it brings up the whole point of when it\’s appropriate to vent, and when it isn\’t.

    I was a little surprised that Mr. Yates , according to the story, called out a stranger on some behavior with his family in the car. I mean, you never can tell what a stranger will do, so why take a chance with your family in tow? That sounded a little reckless. Save the righteousness for when family members aren\’t caught in the crossfire.

    And boy that McAtee doesn\’t sound like he\’s a nice guy after a few drinks. Hard day at the planning office? Since it\’s a city job he\’ll have no problem keeping his position.

    Let\’s save the testostorone for something meaningful…

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  • rixtir July 10, 2008 at 10:22 am

    Coin Yates wasn\’t bullying anybody, SkidMark.

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  • wsbob July 10, 2008 at 10:23 am

    Steven McAtee, the guy on the bike was reportedly drunk…d-r-u-n-k. I feel that cancels any reasonable excuse he might come up with for his behavior before or after he met up with the driver of the car, Colin Yates.

    As usual to really know the why of all that took place in incidents, you probably would have had to be there.

    Is it reasonable to assume that Colin Yates, self described bicycle advocate, driver of a car, and also a person people seem to consider as having a mellow disposition, routinely and/or antagonistically calls out strangers on bikes for traffic violations he sees them commit? Or, as in this incident, did he see a drunk, obviously out of control on a bike, either ignoring or failing to notice traffic controls?

    Colin Yates actions seem reasonable to me. Are some of you seriously thinking that in a situation like this, everyone should keep their mouth shut, and let irresponsible, out of control idiots like Steven McAtee ride on until they hit someone, or cause an accident? If the drunk person were driving a car, a more likely approach might be to get a license number and call the cops, but since bikes don\’t have license numbers…. .

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  • Jeremy July 10, 2008 at 10:24 am

    What really surprised me is that if the driver was in fact a \”cycling advocate\” why the hell did he honk first. There is nothing that pisses me off more than being honked at while riding. Other than that, I think this whole thing has little to do with driving and riding and more to do with two people having a confrontation.

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  • Moo July 10, 2008 at 10:26 am

    Too bad Yates didn\’t pummel the drunkin\’ tard.

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  • Icarus Falling July 10, 2008 at 10:27 am

    While there is no excuse for the drunk idiot beating the car/driver with his bike, (and I hope he is made an example of), there is also no reason for the driver to chastise the cyclist for his actions, no matter how wrong they may be.

    They both made very bad decisions, which were complicated by public intoxication, and more bad decision making.

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  • weastsider July 10, 2008 at 10:35 am

    There is no justification for violence here.

    But the story once again shows the futility of road users trying to educate other road users whilst on the road.

    The offending behavior won\’t be corrected and the confrontations often get out of hand.

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  • hillobstar July 10, 2008 at 10:37 am

    I agree with you on many levels, and find some of the readers responses to the article to be frightening! I mostly ride a bicycle, and occasionally drive a car. I\’ve also been known to walk, take a bus, a train, a few times ride in a plane. It\’s so silly to define ones-self by their means of transportation. I love my bicycle, it makes me feel great! I\’m saving money and getting exersize, plus Portland is so bike friendly. I see it as my main means of transportaion, it is how I choose to get around. I used to live in the Bay Area (CA) and Los Angeles, where I did NOT have a car, and let me tell you, people were not so bike friendly there (LA mostly).

    The problem I have is this, people who think that \”messing\” with cyclists is okay, or funny, or good on any level, and cyclists who take an aggressive approach to people in cars. I know I\’ve been guilty of the aggressive behavior myself in the past, and it never worked out well for me. I just usually got really angry, and put myself in potentially dangerous situations.

    Here\’s what\’s up, bicycles have to obey the same rules as cars, so running red lights, not the best idea. Here\’s what\’s also up, a person in a car is safe, and surrounded by TONS of metal between them and the cement. A person on a bike has them, their clothes and a helmet. When you drive up really close, because that cyclist just isn\’t going fast enough for you (duh, they\’re on a bike, you\’re in a car) you\’re putting their life in danger.

    Let\’s all play nice, so far in the 9 months I\’ve been here people seem pretty chill, though I was witness to the death of Tracey Sparling just 2 weeks after I arrived here. A horrible accident.

    Point is, we cannot lump everyone into a category. This guy, if he was drunk and wielding his bike, that\’s him, that\’s not me. And this other guy, if he\’s all pro-bicycles, great. That\’s awesome, maybe he should ride his bike more often, I don\’t know. It just all seems a little silly to me to point fingers and get super up in arms. They\’re just a couple of dudes, being dudes.

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  • doug July 10, 2008 at 10:38 am

    I have to disagree with your shunning of \’ists\’ terms and the \’community\’ references, Jonathan. Even the \’about\’ section of this blog refers to us as a bike community.

    I see your point that on some level it can create a divide where one need not exist, but the fact remains that cyclists in Portland have been brought together as a pretty cohesive group when you step back and look at the big picture. The BTA, PBAC, and countless other groups support bicycling, sponsor bicycling events, safety lessons, etc. Without such a \’community\’ we might not have come so far with recent safety measures (bike boxes) and other improvements.

    We are a group, and if we\’re a smart and responsible group (as in, don\’t attack a driver), then we can be a community without being divisive.

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  • rixtir July 10, 2008 at 10:38 am

    Chastising a reckless jerk is in the same league as assault and battery, Icarus?

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  • SkidMark July 10, 2008 at 10:39 am

    re: bullying.

    I was speaking in broad terms, not just of this specific situation, which I said was \”uncalled for and way over the line\”.

    The fact of the matter is that every day motorists push us out of the way, yell sh!t at us, don\’t \”see\” us, and generally treat us like we have no right to the road. Not every motorist, but enough to make it dangerous for us.

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  • Brian July 10, 2008 at 10:41 am

    While on my commute every morning, I witess many, if not most cyclists running the red lights and to make it worse, there are usually many cars there to witness. I would love to speak out more often, but I\’d hate to have some A-hole throw their bike into my skull. Bikers and drivers should have to pass an IQ test.
    frustrated but still riding, Brian

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  • Todd Waddell July 10, 2008 at 10:42 am

    If I\’m riding and a motorist drives in a way that puts me at increased risk, I feel that I have a right to respectfully talk to that driver to let them know why a particular action wasn\’t a good or safe decision.

    Similarly, if I encounter a cyclist that behaves in a way that either significantly increases their personal risk or more importantly makes other road users less likely to respect my rights and space as a cyclist, then I feel that I have a right to respectfully talk to them about their behavior.

    Obviously, as in this case, there are some idiots in the world who will respond negatively, but I\’d rather think that people acted out of ignorance than malice and that we can talk about better choices as rational human beings.

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  • Portland Gentrification July 10, 2008 at 10:44 am

    I checked here because I wanted to know if Yates was a real bike activist or if he just said that. Interesting the O couldn\’t add that he\’s a bike mechanic for real.

    When I drive it\’s clear to me that I can yell out the window in response to poor bike riding manners if I really really want to, but it\’s intimidating to honk at a bike – and the correct response is a loogie.

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  • NE July 10, 2008 at 10:46 am

    I will personally vouch for Mr. Colin Yates. He\’s a genuine good guy and it\’s totally bullsh-t this happened on his last day in Little Beirut. Colin is way more than a \”cycling advocate\”. He\’s a bike person. Ironically this happened within slingshot distance of his old house. This fool McAtee needs to be toe-strapped to the median of I-5 at rush hour.
    SmartPatrol wrote, \”But Yates should have kept his thoughts to himself.\” What the f!!! Who\’s patrol are you workin\’ for? Cheney\’s ?????
    Damn the Whoregonian. They top-fold a story about a liquered(?) jack-ass, whilst Iran is playing into the hands of this rogue administration selected by the most conservative Supreme Court in decades. Christ on a stick!!!!
    The \”mob\” that formed sorta freaks me out. Were they all a buncha drunk hipsters on their Pistas? Double thumbs up to the puncher of the drunk clown.

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  • lyle July 10, 2008 at 10:46 am

    This seems like a drunk driving issue before it\’s a bike vs. car issue… as hard as the bike v car stuff is to avoid as a topic of discussion.

    The comments on the Oregonlive site are completely idiotic and not worth anything at all other than evidence that some people really need to address their sense of perspective.. I guess all the bike haters got tired of story after story after story of bicyclists being harrassed, assaulted, threatened, and killed by careless, and reckless car owners… and thought they\’d take the opportunity to jump on a story where that scenario was finally reversed.

    I\’m absolutely positive that when the next story comes along about a road rage filled car owner chasing down a bicylist, getting out and assaulting him, we\’ll see the same outrage from the idiots that respond to stories on Oregonlive.

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  • Mr DeJerk July 10, 2008 at 10:50 am

    What are stop lights?

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  • sarah July 10, 2008 at 10:53 am

    I think the city should put McAtee on administrative leave. He works for the city (didn\’t PDX just win an award or something-plutonium level?) and is a PUBLIC SERVANT. The caveman mentality of the group that gathered sickens me too. PDX is great, but we have our fair share of idiots. Regardless, this doesn\’t help progress on any level. Will the BTA say anything?

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  • drew July 10, 2008 at 10:59 am

    “Typical stupid bicyclist. They break the law, you call them on it and they flip out…\” Painfully true.

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  • erin g. July 10, 2008 at 11:00 am

    What an immense disappointment it is to read the divisive, dividing manner in which The Oregonian chose to cover this news. So many outlets and other Oregonian reporters have taken great strides in revising their approach to covering traffic news, veering away from the “bikes” vs. “cars” mentality toward a more balanced, productive style of reporting (Dylan Rivera of The Oregonian strongly supported the Toward Carfree Cities Conference and Sunday Parkways).

    Today’s sensationalist front-page piece is a big step backwards: it generates new levels of road animosity – which is a life threatening issue – while reinforcing stereotypes and community divides. It is one of the most angering and disappointing pieces of reporting that I have seen this year. It is unacceptable. We can take action to prevent further cases of such irresponsible news coverage.

    We are ALL Traffic is a citizen coalition that works to improve safety and equality for all who share the road. Our next meeting is on Monday, July 14th at 5:30 p.m. One of our ongoing objectives is to influence the way in which the media covers news. After last November’s rally, which occurred in the wake of two terrible road fatalities, we made many friends in the media, who generously supported our unifying demand for safety and respect on the streets. Today’s Oregonian article is a reminder of how much more work is yet to be done. The media’s influence on the masses is immeasurable. Reporters have a choice when they approach news: they can either perpetuate conflict and community fracturing or use this sort of story as an opportunity to debunk stereotypes and deescalate road conflict and violence. In my opinion, reporters who choose to stir hatred between “cyclists” and “motorists” have blood on their hands when new levels of conflict or “accidents” occur due to lack of respect among those on the road. Conversely, those who report responsibly and ethically should be applauded for the peace-forging work that they do.

    If anyone is interested in joining We are ALL Traffic, please contact us right away. We are working hard on safety issues, education, level enforcement, and how the media covers community news. Your level of involvement and time commitment is all up to you; your ideas and good energy are needed! Pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, skateboarders, truck drivers, all of the above- *anyone* who cares about safe access to our public right-of-ways, please join us and get involved: e r i n g r e e s o n @ g m a i l . c o m

    Erin Greeson
    We are ALL Traffic

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  • Aaron July 10, 2008 at 11:01 am

    This is a horrible incident, incited by an angry guy who was very disturbed and drunk. There is no excuse for him.
    We\’ve all seen people do things that range from careless to absolutely horrible. From the guy who drove full speed through a farmer\’s market in California (killing 10), to the guy who rode full speed through a stop sign next to a school, to the pedestrians walking down residential streets wearing black.
    As someone who\’s traveled by all means and been involved in transportation for a decade, I see this in it\’s larger context. People are getting very frustrated with the inequality that everyone is dealing with both on the road and in the economy. Anger is being vented in random ways at people who may or may not be responsible for the problem.
    When I see a cyclist or pedestrian doing something horrible, I tend to think to myself, \”what would be the possible outcome if this person had been driving?\”
    Having witnessed drivers (in New York city) intentionally chase down people, I have definitely seen the worse that road-rage can offer. However this particular person has definitely come as close as anyone on a bike has ever come to being as socially destructive as a car.
    I think that anyone who meets McAtee must make it clear that he did A LOT of damage.

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  • rixtir July 10, 2008 at 11:02 am

    I think McAtee was 100% in the wrong, straight down the line, and I second the double thumbs up to the guy who decked him.

    But I really don\’t see what any of this has to do with his job performance. He should be prosecuted for DUI and assault & battery, but leave his job out of it. It\’s not relevant.

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  • n00b July 10, 2008 at 11:04 am

    I\’m relatively new to Portland. The bicycle-friendliness of the city was a major pull for me. But dealing with some of the cyclists here is seriously off-putting.

    It seems like the cyclist culture is neatly split between the cyborgs and the casuals. I\’m a casual. I bike to work, to the movie store, I go on aimless rides after dinner. I ride every day, but I\’m not locking my feet onto the crank arms.

    Somehow I have near-collisions with cyclists nearly every day. It\’s usually because they don\’t obey traffic laws and I do.

    Part of me sees cyclists as super-pedestrians, like amphibious beings that can act as car (occupying a lane in the street) or as pedestrian (riding on the sidewalk, not always waiting for the light to change when there\’s no traffic, etc), as they please. That\’s a major privilege.

    But cyclists need to adapt their behavior for what\’s appropriate. That is, when in the street, know your rights and claim your space, but also know the laws. Don\’t run red lights.

    I haven\’t owned a car in years. I\’m not an elitist. And I like cycling as much as any of you. But if cycling in Portland wants to approach a level like Amsterdam\’s, then cyclists need to play fairly.

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  • Donald July 10, 2008 at 11:07 am

    KATU ain\’t looking so bad to me as of this morning.

    What a piece of crap writing. When I saw it floated on OL last night I told my wife \”Don\’t worry, an editor will clean this up. It won\’t make print.\”

    Time to tell those few advertisers the print medium have left that devisive commentary disguised as news will only result in lower return for their media buying dollars.

    \”out of nowhere\”

    Give me a break.

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  • Brian July 10, 2008 at 11:08 am

    Interestingly enough, the lead headline for the Oregonian online today is about \”tension\” between bicyclists and \”regular\” riders on the Max. Now I\’m beginning to wonder if the Oregonian has an agenda here, is just being irresponsible. Either way, they are stirring the pot with their sensationalist \”journalism\”.

    I too have had comments made to me by coworkers about Portland\’s bike culture and those \”damn bike hippies\” lol. For the record, I am conservative looking and in my forties, so they feel comforatble talking to me, so I get to hear all the misconceptions about the so called \”bicycle counterculture\”. As several others have pointed out, bicycles need to be viewed as a viable form of transportation, not a fashion accessory or a lifestyle statement. We could learn a great deal from European cities in this respect. Portland is certainly ahead of the curve for the US on transportation issues, but incidents and news coverage like this one show that there is still a lot of work to be done.

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  • Deb July 10, 2008 at 11:08 am

    I\’ve been thinking about this a lot because I have two friends that got into fairly serious bike-on-bike accidents last month. We have all noticed that there are tons more bikes out on the roads this year, and a lot of new bikers doing some pretty stupid, unpredictable and dangerous things. This incident shows that calling them out might not be the best way to go. Really we need to teach folks how to be good riders through our actions. Follow the laws, signal your turns. With half the city riding we are no longer renegades and need to stop acting that way.

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  • Stripes July 10, 2008 at 11:13 am

    This \”bikes versus cars\” debate is silly.

    Around 80% of Portland bicyclists also own and drive a car, which makes the argument redundant before you\’ve even begun.

    Plus, the actions of one person should never be perceived as the actions of an entire demographic.

    Cars run red lights ALL THE TIME. Go out to 82nd Ave and look. That doesn\’t mean that ALL car drivers are evil.

    Same with bikes. Bicyclists who blow stop signs are stupid, yes.

    But I would argue that they are not so much \”bad bicyclists\” as much as stupid, inconsiderate human beings.

    Rant over!

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  • Brian July 10, 2008 at 11:14 am

    Well, as for KATU, their lead story on their website this morning was regarding \”tension\” on the Max between bicyclists and \”regular\” riders. Way to stir the pot KATU. Even in bike friendly Portland bicycle advocacy is an uphill battle.

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  • Matt July 10, 2008 at 11:17 am

    The most thought provoking post on here is Brad\’s #42, yet it has been totally ignored in the squelch of bicycle righteousness. I get the feeling that instead of being part of the solution, many folks here want to be part of the revolution. The topic of conversation should be about personal responsibility and obeying basic traffic rules that are implemeted for ease of flow and safety. There really is no other issue. A number of bicyclists in this town, old and young ignore these rules. They are the problem, not the motorist who is obeying the basic traffic rule. Unfortunately motorists make mistakes and hit bicyclists, occasionally with fatal results. I don\’t believe that any motorist has intentionally done so. However it is this sociopathic persona we pin on motorists that make a cooperative sharing of the road so difficult. We all need to grow up and be reposible for our own behavior, stop blaming others and share the road.
    Regardless of the issue, the us vs. them mentality does not build community, I don\’t care what way you spin it.

    Brad thank you for your post.

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  • Miggity July 10, 2008 at 11:23 am

    My favorite part of this story is the mob mentality of the 25 other people that came to the defense of an aggressive drunk asshat.

    In the alleged \”Us vs. Them\” debate it is painfully obvious that those of us on bikes are much more discriminatory in this regard. A much stronger sense of \”Us\” as a bike riding community, as evidenced by all these people coming to the defense of the wrong person. It is too bad.

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  • toddistic July 10, 2008 at 11:27 am

    great! now i get to enjoy some motorist thinking they are justified in harassing me on my way home.

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  • cyclepete July 10, 2008 at 11:27 am

    Would the driver pull up to a car and \”chide\” him/her for making car drivers look bad for running a red light? Don\’t think so. If you open up your mouth and criticize someone, expect that there may be consequences.

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  • SkidMark July 10, 2008 at 11:33 am

    It seems like the only time these outraged motorists actually see cyclists is when they do something wrong, not when they are taking a left turn in front of one, or right-hooking one. I also have to wonder if they are as outraged when they see a fellow motorist run a stop sign or a stoplight, which is much more life-threatening than a bicyclist could ever be.

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  • wsbob July 10, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Actually, I think the Oregonian story was pretty good. It portrayed Colin Yates, the driver of the car fair enough. From the story, I didn\’t get the impression that Yates antagonized McAtee, the guy on the bike.

    The story told it pretty straight: Yates commented that McAtee was being irresponsible and then blocks later, the drunken McAtee went out of his way to escalate the situation, going so far as to use his bike to strike Colin Yates car and his person. Only an idiot drunk would do something so stupid as that. Absolutely if the driver of the car had been a cop, McAtee would have been promptly tased or shot dead on the spot.

    \”Suddenly, out of nowhere, a passer-by knocked McAtee to the ground with one punch.\” Oregonian article

    No kid gloves there, but better than being shot dead.

    I suppose the nature of McAtee\’s job might be important here. Citizens of Portland most likely feel the city, as a rule, had better be hiring people that can conduct themselves off the job as well as on the job, better than Portland\’s transportation department building plan examiner Steven McAtee does.

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  • dobrien July 10, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Thank you, Jonathan. There is as much of a \”bicycle community\” as there is a \”motorist community.\” Neither label furthers the discussion.

    In my opinion, Colin Yates\’ actions were those of a good citizen. I\’m more concerned with anyone who advocates turning a blind eye to irresponsible, out of control, unsafe behavior. It\’s a concept that transcends bikes and cars.

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  • 2GOAT July 10, 2008 at 11:42 am

    Sadly the reality of the situation is that there will probably be more altercations like this than less.
    There are more cyclists on the road than ever. They are present for multiple of reasons. So this is a fact that people need to accept.
    What everyone utilizing our roads and paths need to remember that we all have a constitutional right to travel. So, when an irresponsible motorist, finally loses his/her license, cycling is still a viable mode of transportation. Unfortunately, these same drivers probably cycle in a similarly irresponsible fashion. Therefore, in all groups, there always is a percentage of individuals on the fringe, be they “scofflaws” or “hyper-vigilant”. Cycling, as a group will accumulate an even greater number of “irresponsible and irreverent” personalities. Those who present licensure of cyclists as a way to prevent this will find it will not be so simple. Preservation of non-licensed forms of transportation, such as cycling is essential to maintaining the constitutionality of a state’s power of revocation for licensed forms of transportation.

    Which irresponsible traveler do you want off the road, the driver of a 2 ton vehicle or the rider of a 20 lb bike?

    Personally, I am focusing on reducing the number of individuals carelessly converting their cars into lethal weapons, educating all members of traffic and improving infrastructure for safe traffic flow.
    [Responsible media coverage and enforcement contribute to education]

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  • wally July 10, 2008 at 11:50 am

    Comment on about the cyclist altercation:

    I am glad I moved out of Portland to a small town. Where if I have to wait for more than three cars it\’s rush hour. You folks take care in the big city. . Come on mayor Stham Adamths do the right thing here

    Yes, come on mayor stham adamths, do the right thing. This small town feller writes with a lisp and like his pie appleth.

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  • Mike July 10, 2008 at 11:52 am

    I have known Colin for over 17 years. He has worked in the bike industry for almost as long as I have been alive. Colin is one of the most bike conscious people I know, he has also commuted by bike more miles that 99% of the population will ever ride in their lifetimes.

    It is a pity that he has been dragged into this situation and had his reputation put into question.

    I for one stand by Colin Yates as an honorable and decent Human Being.

    I call on anyone else that knows Colin to submit to this column and support Him.

    It’s a pity he is on vacation and cannot be here to defend himself from the vitrol I am seeing spewed about him.

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  • JRB July 10, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Every single day during my commute I see other cyclists blow red lights. If I get a chance, I call them on it, although I need to do a better job of doing it politely. It\’s not self-righteousness, it\’s self-preservation.

    People riding recklessly makes drivers angry which puts my life and well-being at risk. Face it folks, riding a bike does not imbue you with a moral superiority that entitles you to disobey the traffic laws at your whim. Cyclists get outraged when their riding angers a motorist because the cyclist has cost the driver a few seconds, yet some cyclists feel that they shouldn\’t have to stop at a light because it will cost them a few seconds on their trip. What hypocrisy. I am as strong an advocate for cycling as anyone and don\’t downplay the relative risk in a car-bike confrontation, but I am sick of the true self-righteousness and twisted sense of entitlement displayed by so many of my fellow cyclists.

    That all being said, I think Yates made two mistakes, honking his horn and trying to confront a cyclist from a car. As much as a self-appointed cop as I may be, two things I would not do.

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  • Kelly July 10, 2008 at 11:53 am

    It seems like many of the comments on here are well thought out. I would venture that people who are invested in Portland\’s cycling community are also those who can see the big picture, and that is why they can see this issue as a person v. person issue, an anger management issue, a warning of what happens when you drink too much, etc.

    I also can appreciate the outlandish comments–I may not agree with them, but just being aware those people are out there, thinking what they think (on both sides of the coin) can help me understand where someone is coming from.

    I think that most cyclists are never noticed by cars because car drivers are too focused on the road, not the shoulders of the road. Also because many cyclists choose to ride on residential streets, trails, or during off-peak hours. I myself have ridden downtown only once, and was almost hit twice by cars trying to parallel park or leave a parking spot.

    Many of the roads in PDX were designed with cars in mind, so it\’s that much harder for everyone to come to a balance. Personally, I like that All State Insurance commercial that illustrates how everyone on the road is a person…not a \”car\” or a \”bike\”…and that it\’s everyone\’s responsibility.

    Keep the discussion going. Eventually we\’ll get somewhere!

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  • Kay July 10, 2008 at 11:54 am

    I wish bicyclists who blow stop signs realized the implications of their actions… not so much the implications of their own health or wellbeing or whatnot, although of course that is very important.

    Rather, I wish they would realize the implications for cycling as a culture, and the implications for other cyclists who do obey the law and ride safer.

    When bicyclists are perceived as rowdy, inconsiderate, dangerous, wreckless or non-law abiding by everybody in a car based on what they are seeing in front of them out of their windshields, it affects ##so## much!

    It affects whether the bicycle community gets funding for projects. It affects the wellbeing and standing of cyclists who are careful and DO obey the law.

    Case in point. While I was bicycling the Columbia Gorge Historic Highway, a passing car hurled a beer can at me hard as it passed. The beer can hit my bike, exploded, and soaked me.

    I caught up with the car at Crown Point, and asked the man what the heck he was doing. His response? He just laughed and said \”You bicyclists are all the same, you run red lights, run stop signs, and you totally deserved it\” before driving off agressively. He did this to me, irregardless of the fact I was riding perfectly legally.

    This guy felt he had the right to injure me – a girl he didn\’t even know – based on what he sees out there on the streets with bikes every day of his life.

    It was pretty upsetting needless to say.

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  • oregone July 10, 2008 at 11:55 am

    #62 and #74 are correct. I don\’t understand how some of you feel that one should mind one\’s own business when they see someone put the lives of themselves and others at risk.

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  • WTF Steve July 10, 2008 at 11:57 am

    Steve’s behavior was disgusting. I was shocked as the Steve I know is a kind, soft spoken guy. It is now apparent to all Greater Portland that Steve has a problem or two. Drinking and anger come to mind.

    His job as a city employee has nothing to do with this situation and I am not sure what the Oregonian felt the need to mention it. Should every city employee that receives a DUI, gets arrested, or does something stupid when they\’re drunk be fired from their job?

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  • joel July 10, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    The rider was intoxicated, ie, actively in violation of the law. He\’s in the wrong. Blowing a stop sign, drunk…he deserves to go to jail.

    I agree with those that don\’t condone a double-standard for bad behavior on two wheels vs four.

    I\’m deeply disappointed is failing to address the issue of riding while intoxicated. It\’s inexcusable in any vehicle.

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  • Mike July 10, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    Correction: Colin is not on vacation.
    He has moved to Colorado.

    Great going away present from Portland.

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  • Rick July 10, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    I am a new cyclist yet have to drive my car to work. I cross the Springwater Corridor trail at Stanley every day in my car. I\’m amazed at the number of cyclists that blow through the stop signs and then have the audacity to yell at the cars that come close to hitting them.

    Another interesting area is cycling etiquette while on paths. I thought we, as cyclists, were supposed to do things such as let a walker/bike know we were passing and on what side and I practice this every time I\’m on my bike. However I can\’t count the close calls I\’ve had from other cyclists that don\’t practice this.

    What gives??? I love to bike and do so every night…but I don\’t know who is the worst…the bikes or the cars!!

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  • sumadis July 10, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    Ironic that just a few days after a horrific holiday road rage incident down here in LA – car against bike, a severed nose, 90 stitches, extended ER visits, broken bones etc – y\’all flip the script up in allegedly bike-friendlier Portland.,0,6023414.story

    Given that the LA Times story about the Mandeville Canyon incident has resulted in 160 jackholes and counting commenting that the cyclists deserved to get hit, not to mention a ton of folks calling and emailing threats to the numerous doctors sharing the same name as the perpetrator are representative of how foolish both sides can act when anger overtakes logic. Which, IMHO is what y\’all are experiencing up north – violence begets violence. We can\’t \’all just get along\’ if everyone takes it as their right to fly off the handle based on a limited perspective of a given event. Both stories prove that before any true sharing of the road can go on, people on two and four wheels need to figure out how to keep emotions in check and be rational in how they view the world they\’re trying to participate in.

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  • Jesse Jackson July 10, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    Seems I\’m not the only one.


    That diver was talking down to cyclists! I\’d like to cut his nuts off!

    —say that again?, What? my mic is on?

    oh shit…

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  • rocko July 10, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    This has nothing to do with obeying traffic laws. just another motorist picking on a cyclist because it\’s easy.

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  • Ryan Conrad July 10, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    Just when I thought my little protest of the bike boxes got blown out of proportion (both here and through some misquoting by Portland Tribune), I read this FRONT PAGE, TOP-HALF article in the Oregonian, a nationally-respected and recognized professional newspaper, and my freaking jaw just dropped. My respect for them, simply as a objective new source, completely removed from all things cycling, has just dropped significantly. At least put it in the Metro section! How the hell did this happen?!? Very poor reporting IMO and very irresponsible, which says nothing of the content of the article, which is just as bad. FRONT PAGE!?!?! What editor would be so insane as to let this happen!?!?

    BTW, I will personally vouch for Colin, he is a good guy and well-meaning with all things cycling. I worked under him when I first started working at the BG several years ago. I\’m sure this was a huge misunderstanding, both in the events that precipitated and in the awful reporting done by the Oregonian. Shame on the Oregonian, SHAME!!

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  • Matt Picio July 10, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    jc (#51) – wow, thanks for that equally inappropriate reaction. Why should McAtee lose his job with the city? Unless he did this during work hours while acting as a city employee, his behavior has no bearing on his job. You\’re advocating a reaction that amounts to a personal vendetta – the same level of over-reaction that McAtee is (apparently) guilty of in this instance. He should be punished for his crime, sure – but that\’s it.

    sarah (#76) – the city puts police on administrative leave when they screw up on duty. They put school teachers on leave when the teacher is accused of a crime involving students. Administrative leave is a protective measure for the community when there is question as to whether the behavior of the employee directly puts the community at risk. Unless McAtee did this on city time, I don\’t see how it affects his job or the community-at-large. If he\’s convicted of assault, then the city has every right to fire him, but at the moment it\’s unclear to me how putting him on leave (which gives him opportunity to be depressed and possibly drink) is more beneficial to the community than allowing him to work his job.

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  • burning shame July 10, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    As a bike commuter in this town, I\’ve got to say that the RED LIGHT running by bikes drives me nuts. Stop signs I can understand (when are we going to that slow and go Idaho law), half the time the person in the car will wave me through, but the red light thing just pisses me off… and I\’m on my bike!

    I think it\’s the ONE shining example of behavior that gets people to say stuff like:

    JC – 51

    \”This is exactly the problem I have with alot of bicyclists in this town. They feel entitled and that they deserve something because they are riding a bike. But in fact, most of them are aggressive, do not obey traffic laws and ride drunk more than we would like to think.\”

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  • T Wente July 10, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    Too many cyclists do not find it necessary to follow the traffic laws. I am an avid cyclist and I get cursed when I point out the failure to stop at a red light or stop sign. We in the cycling community need to step up and police ourselves and follow the rules.

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  • Chris Sullivan July 10, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    \”There are a lot of latent death-threats in the Oregonians comments section, which is scary.\” – post #35

    Use the \’Alert Us\’ link and let them know. They\’ve taken down a couple of comments that I flagged as violent.

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  • Zaphod July 10, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    The story belongs on a local news inside page, not the lead story but that\’s water under the bridge at this point.

    News seems to always follow the mantra, \”if it bleeds, it leads.\” I\’d love to see a front page story, \”Forty thousand cyclists commute around Portland today without incident.\” Portland residents collectively saved 14,000 gallons of gas or $56,000. This reduced our carbon footprint by xyz.

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  • scdurs July 10, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    I think Brad (post #42) hit the nail on the head. We (cyclists) need to act responsibly if we ever want to be taken seriously on the road. If we behave like we are children riding toys, then we will get no respect from the public. And that goes for extremist, recreational, racer, and commuter cyclists alike.

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  • jami July 10, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    i\’ve been scolded by drivers on days when i\’ve forgotten my helmet or i didn\’t have a headlight after dark. i was annoyed, but i didn\’t nearly approach smash-them-with-my-bicycle levels of rage. whatever happens to mr. mcatee, i hope it involves anger management training.

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  • James B. Lee July 10, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    A. He was drunk.

    B. He works for Sam.

    C. End of story.

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  • mad mike July 10, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    Agree with the poster a ways up who pointed out that the Oregonian is nothing but sensationalistic trash. It\’s a sure thing that we\’ve come to a pretty scary point when the Tribune is gaining more & more acceptance as a reliable and trust-worthy medium for local news coverage.

    I like when they (Oregonian) run those big 57-point font, attention grabbing headlines relating to some trade the Blazers made or whatever (and I\’m a Blazer fan and avid cyclist — I just don\’t think either of these things, especially in these particular instances — warrant the kind of \”coverage\” that crap paper gives them.) Sad.

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  • RyNO Dan July 10, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    The guy was riding alone at night and was threatened by a car full
    of people. The assymmetry in the encounter demands that the cyclist
    turn to defensive measures. There is no time to try to understand
    what every car is yelling when you are a cyclist trying not to die
    on americas roads.

    If you threaten a cyclist from a car, and then proceed to get out of
    your vehicle, then you are attacking the cyclist. That must be the
    cyclist\’s first assumption. In that situation, counter-attack and
    the highest level of defense are appropriate.

    My riding a bike is not an open invitation for you to make any
    comments whatsoever from a vehicle, especially threatening ones. It
    doesn\’t matter whether you have some point to make. Do you start up
    a discussion with every car that doesn\’t use the turn signal ? NO !
    So do not initiate any threatening demands from your vehicle while
    I am cycling or you will receive the appropriate counter measures.

    The hypocritical car cheaters just speed away like cowards if they
    don\’t like the situation. And yet turn around and demand that a
    cyclist stop on the spot and engage in some conversation. Rediculous.

    And finally, I completely disagree, the way you choose to transport
    yourself does, more than many things, paint a picture of your
    Peace to all -RD-

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  • Icarus Falling July 10, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    \”Chastising a reckless jerk is in the same league as assault and battery, Icarus?\” (comment #69)


    Yelling anything at a reckless jerk is inviting escalation of the situation.
    In fact, yelling anything at anybody at anytime is inviting escalation of a situation.

    This is not in any manner excusing the idiot moves of the drunk cyclist.

    But it also does not take partial fault away from the driver.

    Had he just driven safely away with his family, without honking, yelling at, following, then chastising the cyclist, there would be a different outcome to this situation.

    When driving around cyclists, or even biking around cyclists, there are certain responsibilities involved.

    One of the major ones is \”Protect your Family!\” Even if it means dropping any thoughts you may have of supposed \”bicycle advocacy\”.

    Protecting your family does not involve honking, then yelling at a cyclist, which in turn is no different than putting your family in harms way.

    Not to mention the lesson learned by your children that it may be OK to yell and honk angrily at cyclists from the safety of your car.

    Protecting your family means being the bigger person, and slowly driving away without saying a word to the offender.
    Possibly calling the authorities if you feel there is some danger to others on the road.

    Instead, it sadly became some sort of insane invitation for a drunk moron to attack the metal bubble you had strapped your family into.

    Also, honking at a cyclist, whether out of rage or love, gets one response.

    The cyclist turns their head to look the direction of the honk/yell. This will probably result in a swerve of the bicycle, which can result quickly in injury or death. It is well known, even on a heavier motorcycle, that the result of a head turn, and the corresponding drop of the shoulder, results in the vehicle turning the direction of the head turn. This is not as prevelant on a motorcycle as on a bicycle, due to the power plant pushing the motorcycle forward faster than pedal power, but it does happen.

    Now, on to advocacy. Advocacy is not something that is yelled from a car window, or expressed by honking your horn.

    I cannot tell you the number of times \”bicycle advocates\” have chastized me for a untold number of things, mostly while riding safely. And many times, the way they come across to you does nothing more than get your endorphines in a bunch, and your response is not generally pleasant.

    The above was my response to Rixtir\’s question about my comment.

    Once again, I do not condone the actions of the cyclist involved in this mess.

    I also do not condone those around him on bicycles allowing this to escalate.

    Had I been there, and seen him attacking a car with a family in it, and swinging his bike at a man, I would have done my best to knock him out cold. Or at least subdue him. I would have then helped to deliver his ass to the police.

    Thank you, and have a good day!

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  • Miggity July 10, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    Kay: \”He did this to me, irregardless of the fact I was riding perfectly legally.\”

    \”irregardless\” is not a real word.

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  • Aleks July 10, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    I like some of what I\’ve heard here. The absolute truth is that separation is the enemy. All of us are people. There is no cycling community as much as there isn\’t a motorist community. People\’s need to separate themselves from other for the purpose of feeling elite about what they do or creating some sort of rivalry that only exists in their mind, that is the enemy. I drive a lot and bike a lot. I see both perspectives and people in general make me mad on the road, but taking the stand that you are on one side or the other is ridiculous. So you don\’t drive? That doesn\’t make you special. So you don\’t ride a bike? That doesn\’t make you special either. People just choose different means of transport. When you get any large number of people interacting with each other someone is bound to get pissed at someone else because lets face it we all can\’t be calm and collected all the time. Lets just remember were all people.

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  • rixtir July 10, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    RyNO Dan, put down the crack pipe, you\’re baked. Well, half-baked.

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  • Bob July 10, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    Certainly this story is more important than the situation in Iraq, the worsening US economy, and the millions in this country without health insurance. Thank goodness the Oregonian has a sense of perspective.

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  • toddistic July 10, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    I predict this thread will reach over 300 comments and be the most commented posting on ever!

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  • toddistic July 10, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    (throws verbal hand gerenade)

    I heard the guy was riding a fixie!

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  • NE July 10, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    RyNO Dan, if you are proposing that Colin Yates, the driver, was threatening Mr. McAtee with his car, you are terribly mistaken. I will say you are wrong. Colin would NEVER do such a thing. Colin is a fellow cyclist. Comprende, amigo?? This whole situation is so full of irony. Drunk FOOL, riding errratically, is called on his sh-t, goes ballistic, threatens a fellow cyclist with his bicycle. ?????
    \”The assymmetry in the encounter demands that the cyclist turn to defensive measures.\” Uh, I fail to see smashing your own bicycle on a car with family as \”defensive\”.
    Nate E., in defense of Colin.

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  • Christopher July 10, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    [J wrote]…more importantly, I do not see the world from the view of someone being a “bicyclist” or a “motorist”…[end J wrote]

    Neither does the law. Car or motorcycle or bicycle (that\’s right, BICYCLE) – you are considered a moving vehicle.

    Laws govern how we are to behave on the streets. That includes stopping for, yes it\’s probably hard for some of you to believe or understand, Stop signs.

    When someone blows a stop sign, why shouldn\’t we say \”Hey! Nice go\’n!! stop twice next time, OK?\” Wherein this kind of comment is not an assault.

    Car. Motorcycle. Or bicycle! It all applies equally.

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  • Quenton July 10, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    I don\’t see the problem with the Oregonian\’s reporting of it, except for maybe the stratifying of individuals into labels.

    What\’s worse is the mob mentality that people get into without even stopping to find out what happened. That\’s pathetic! Every single person involved in that should be ashamed of them selves for behaving so cowardly and in such bad taste.

    Unfortunately, there are alot of commuters (bike advocate or not) who routinely blow stopsigns and flaunt traffic laws. Many people ride their bikes just as unconcerned for others well being as they drive their cars.

    I assume that people are ignorant of the law or etiquette when I\’m riding, and try and find non-agressive ways to inform them that their behavior is dangerous. Often, it\’s met with an honest they \”didn\’t know/realize\”, but just as often I get the finger, or people turning irate and becoming irrational.

    Ironically, I have better interactions with people in cars when I\’m out riding.

    I think people need to get off their high horses and realize that we\’re all humans, and deserved to be treated as such. Regardless of perceived fault in any situation.

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  • Jim July 10, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    I\’m not a bicyclist but I am a motorcyclist, so it\’s interesting to see the bicycle \”community\” going through the same issues the motorcycle community has and is going through. Cars (we call them \”cages\”) don\’t see us either, and the standard defense for killing someone on a motorcycle with your car is \”I didn\’t see them.\”

    The big difference between being a motorcyclist and a bicyclist though (aside from the obvious engine) is that motorcyclists have to be licensed and pass a test that shows we know the rules of the road. I could easily split lanes and blow stop signs/lights on my motorcycle but I don\’t because I know I\’ll get a ticket or worse. And I can\’t ride on the sidewalk either (although I thought bicycles weren\’t supposed to ride on the sidewalks either in downtown…)

    I\’ve learned to swallow my anger and just let things go on the bike. I\’m hyper aware, and I don\’t do dumb things like run lights or take chances because I might get hurt or killed. If I was on a bicycle I\’d ride the same way. I just don\’t understand bicyclists that think their sense of entitlement is going to protect them from an accident. Ride safe, and pay attention.

    On another note, if there IS any sense of \”community\” then maybe the bicycle and motorcycle communities should get together on pushing for increased penalties for hurting or killing someone with a vehicle. We have some common ground here…

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  • My 2 cents July 10, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    (Verbal hand grenade two)

    Not only was he riding a fixie, he was drunk on COORS Light, after leaving a Pro-New I-5 bridge support party!!

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  • T Williams July 10, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    From toddistic:

    \”(throws verbal hand gerenade)

    I heard the guy was riding a fixie!\”

    I also heard that the driver said helmets were for wankers!

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  • kg July 10, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    The more people who obey the law, the people will obey the law. If you come to an intersection with a traffic control device and everyone is blowing through it, it seems acceptable. Don\’t be part of the problem.

    I have little sympathy for the those whining about stop sign stings ect. If you\’re breaking the law you should be prepared to accept the consequences. At this point I would applaud more stings for any law breakers no matter their mode of transportation.

    If you have a problem with this well to bad, your breaking the law.

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  • Roma July 10, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    This story is on the Drudge Report.

    Amazing. With all the violence, greed, corruption, war and poverty going on in the world, the NATIONAL media is covering a story about some drunken idiot fighting with some wanna be traffic cop.

    I don\’t even see why him being on a bike is even relevant. The only relevant part of that is some motorist felt it was appropriate to \”chastise\” someone from the relative safety of his car.

    If you yell at random people, you never know what you\’re in for. There are lunatics all over the place.

    I don\’t get these people who feel it\’s their duty to police cyclists.

    I\’m sure these same people are also yelling at all the homeless and/or ignorant people riding the wrong way down the sidewalk with no helmet on…yeah didn\’t think so.

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  • Klixi July 10, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    Hand grenade 3:

    Not only was he on a fixie and drinking PBR, but I heard he threatened to papercut the driver with his spoke cards!

    Seriously though, everyone is making way too big a deal about this. You think this is the first time a trivial story has been slapped on the front page? I get the feeling had this been a car vs bike issue and not vice versa everyone would be applauding the Oregonian for having the courage make a stand. But since this article shows some Portland cyclists in a bad light, everyone feigns unjust offense.

    One story. Big deal. Go out, ride your bike, smile and enjoy the summer.

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  • Paul Tay July 10, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    ROFLMFAO! FRONT page, ABOVE the fold in the Oregonian?! I\’m LOVIN\’ it! I don\’t really have much to add, except:

    Lessons LEARNED:
    1) NO matter how RIGHT you only THINK you are, never EVER chased down a DRUNKEN, reckless, outta-control cyclist, while driving a deadly weapon on four-wheels. We FREAK out, BIG time. Instead, park your car somewhere and RUN after the perp on bike!

    2) ALWAYS keep an unopened bottle of EVERCLEAR handy in your front seat to give out to bicyclist gone WILD. Better yet, give out LSD.

    3) Review the Angry Asian Guy\’s Guide to Passive-Aggressiveness.

    1) Motorists are generally IGNORANT, even if they are allegedly the bicycle advocate. They don\’t realize they are driving a deadly weapon on four-wheels.

    2) How to Beat Roadway Bullies, WITHOUT Really Trying: a. Note make, model, color, and if possible, tag number of said recalcitrant motor vehicle; b. Calmly roll next to the driver, if you catch him at the red; c. Make NO sudden moves. Slowly turn, look straight into the whites of his eyes. Stick tongue out as far as possible. d. Bonus move—Ask for a dollar to keep the show rolling.

    If I don\’t come home without at least a few dollars for beer, it is because I didn\’t do my job to ASK.

    3) Review the Angry Asian Guy\’s Guide to Passive-Aggressiveness.

    Can we all just get ALONG?

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  • Roma July 10, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    \”I have little sympathy for the those whining about stop sign stings ect. If you\’re breaking the law you should be prepared to accept the consequences. At this point I would applaud more stings for any law breakers no matter their mode of transportation.

    If you have a problem with this well to bad, your breaking the law.\”

    Yes – that\’s what we need. More cops handing out $240 tickets for rolling through a 4-Way stop at 5 mph with zero cars in sight. That\’s when I got my ticket. Was I breaking the law? Yes. Do I think the punishment fit the crime? No.

    My ticket was the same amount a person driving a car would have received for the same infraction. In my opinion, there is a HUGE difference between a car running a stop sign and a cyclists \”running\” a stop sign.

    BTW – I\’ve never come to a complete stop at that intersection since, so the stings don\’t work.

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  • Yellow Guerciotti July 10, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    #1 I know Colin Yates and yes, he is a reasonable, calm, cool, collected, an avid biker and a decent guy. He was most recently at the Bike Gallery downtown. I have no doubt that he was, as I often do, reminding another biker that it does not advantage anyone\’s perceptions of bikers to blow stops on busy streets. Some drivers relish looking around to point fingers and reinforce the sterotype the Oregonian flaunted. That is that single male cyclists in their 20s and 30s are reckless and disrespectful. The article would lead you to believe that a bike is a gateway drug to all kinds of morally depraved behavior. Was Mr. McAtee biking while drunk or was he biking drunk because he was a cyclist (on a single speed no doubt)?

    #2 The Oregonian is not even a decent newspaper, it\’s a money losing second rate daily in a media market where pet deer meeting the death penalty qualifies as 3 days of front page news. Like much of corporate owned mass media, its foremost mission is not to provide accurate news coverage but to stem its hemmoraging cashflow statement. This story represents the editoral directive to do just that, an editorial directive that is a disservice to the high quality journalists I know who work there.

    #3 In 10 years of Portland biking, I have been road raged, yelled at for simply riding a bike, been spit on, all more than once, and have even been physically assaulted, some of it cars, some of it other cyclists. Just last night when passing another cyclist on Alberta who felt I had not given him enough room, I was called a string of profanities and was spit on simply because I chose to ignore the other cyclist\’s vitriolic diatribe.

    Jonathan, your point is well taken. This is not driver vs. biker or biker vs. biker or pedestrian vs. biker or skater vs. biker (all things that I am), it is about being half way decent and showing respect to the people around you.

    Portland is a small town, I\’ve seen all of you before and I\’ll see you again, we (myself included) need to act like it.

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  • Paul Tay July 10, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    This would also make a GREAT Street Roots article, FRONT page, above the fold! Talk about William Randolph Hearst REINCARNATED! Kaaaaa-CHING! The GREAT American Free Enterprise HARD at WORK.

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  • wsbob July 10, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    Having said that the MaxineBernstein-Oregonian article was pretty good, I will agree that choices made about the headline, story placement and so on, were not so good. The blame for those things probably belongs to other departments or staff of the O, such as editing or marketing.

    I\’ll agree that the O has for quite awhile now, been going for the cheap shot in that respect. The paper probably has concluded they\’ve got to do this to grab the attention of a population that reads less and less, and is more inclined to so when confronted by the screaming headlines of tabloid rags in the racks at the supermarket checkout line. Apparently, \’monkey see, monkey do\’ has become a guiding principle of O departments such as editing and marketing.

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  • Stripes July 10, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    It looks like the Oregonian\’s online website has changed the heading of the story to \”Angry bicyclists gang up on the wrong person\” –

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  • Peter Cornell July 10, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    Colin Yates, I got your back. Not only is Colin one of the best guys I ever worked for, he is a genuine friend to cyclists everywhere.
    This drunk smashing on Colin is totally unacceptable – throw the book at \’em. If Colin were walking across the street, had an altercation with the cyclist and yelled out would there be any defense for the cyclist going ballistic? Hell no. The fact that Colin was driving is irrelevant.

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  • Paul Tay July 10, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    #42, Brad wrote: \”We should stop publically celebrating outlaw events like the Zoobomb, Critical Mass, Naked Ride, etc. if their acts engender ill will towards the greater number of people that happen to utilize bikes. How pissed would the bike community be if someone organized an outlaw \”Drive Your Cars on the Springwater Day\” or an evening series of \”No Headlights on Bike Boulevard Drives\”? Yet, we do similar things under the guise of \”bike fun\” and \”protest\” and tell non-cyclists to get bent when they object.\”

    UN-friggin\’-believable. 😛

    1) There is a HUGE difference between a DRUNKEN, reckless, outta control village idiot driving a bicycle and a DRUNKEN, reckless, outta control village idiot driving a half-TON of metal, glass, and rubber.

    2) Without the Zoobombers, the CM\’ers, and the Nekkid Bikers, there would be NO bike culture. Labeling them as \’outlaws\’ is throwing out the baby with the bathwater, an act bordering on UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Review Still We Ride.

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  • cn July 10, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    Jonathan – I have a question for you – but must be honest that I don\’t have a complete drivers manual at my disposal… Is there an excerpt that could be taken about the rules of the road for bikes and for cars together? I honestly would love some resource that clearly outlined who has the right of way in various traffic situations. Bike lanes, no bike lanes, no shoulders, speed zones and merging. I think we could all use a little refresher. Some people are probably just being ignorant and being labeled beligerent. I mean stop signs are obvious, but so much is no obvious IMHO. And for the record one of the scariest opinions I\’ve seen expressed is that cars are out to kill. That is the most horrible, incorrect mis-characterization of the average driver I\’ve ever come across. That type of irrational judgment makes me sick to my stomach.

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  • dave t July 10, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    RyNO Dan: perhaps you didn\’t actually \”read\” the article. it doesn\’t look like the motorist made any threatening remarks whatsoever. the guy on the bike was drunk.

    oh and ps: i\’m not in my car and i\’m not making a threatening remark, so don\’t think that making a counter-attack is \”appropriate\” here. scary

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  • Klixi July 10, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    \”Bike culture\” ?

    I don\’t even know what that means. I put one leg over the top of my bike, sit on the seat and pedal. It\’s not a culture, it\’s a freaking bicycle.

    Why everyone must pretend they\’re part of some massive movement or revolution is beyond me.

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  • John K July 10, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    Icarus Falling said \”there is also no reason for the driver to chastise the cyclist for his actions, no matter how wrong they may be.\” I call bullshit on that statement. The reason why Yates said something to the asshole was that he IS a biker and CARES about them and not only their safety but how their actions effect the overall impression of the biking community here. Personally, whenever I see some complete idiot riding in all black at night with no light or sitting up in their seat not even holding their handlebars with their earphones in and their eyes closed I think that if they get killed then it\’s natural selection in action and one less asshole on a bike to deal with and make the rest of us look bad.

    Oh, and since this incident happened on SE 20th let me say this. I drive this road almost every day unless I\’m on my bike and I get SO tired of bikers taking up room on a road that should have a friggin\’ bike lane if that\’s busy. There is no room for bikes and they should use the goddamn sidewalk. I don\’t care if it\’s my right to ride on the road or not – if there\’s no room I\’m not going to put my life in danger OR slow down traffic while I\’m climbing hills next to parked cars. Oh, and don\’t worry. I know that there are PLENTY of assholes in cars, too, but these days ANYONE on foot, on a bike, in a car or anywhere else who gets called out on improper behavior is sadly more likely to confront you about it than actually admitting they made a mistake and apologizing.

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  • Brent July 10, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    Perhaps one day the Portland bike community will get lucky and Mr Mike or Mr. drunken idiot will blow one stop sign or light too many… Just a thought…

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  • djasonpenney July 10, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    It\’s just a man-bites-dog story. After all of the bike fatalities last year, you have to expect something like this to be of interest to the public.

    Let\’s not forget that motorists are *much* more aware of cyclists and act *much* more safely around them than they did a year ago.

    From the viewpoint of the cycling community, I think the *shameful* part is how the (mostly cyclist) rabble assumed that Colin was in the wrong when they saw the two in an altercation.

    The irony that it was one of the Good Guys (a Bike Gallery professional) that was thrashed by a [expletive-deleted] drunk got tucked away on page two. Shame, shame, Oregonian: I think that would have made a point about lawless cyclists much better than what you chose to emphasize.

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  • R-biker July 10, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    Colin & I have been friends since he came to Portland ..We have ridden many miles together..He\’s the best..a total cyclist ..
    I find nothing wrong with his actions..
    We have always obeyed \”Rules of the road\”.
    You want full use of roads you gotta use the rules!!

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  • Torfinn July 10, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    Hahaha, that\’s great. For starters it sounds to me as if noone in the group of cyclists that showed up actually got involved in any way at all other than trying to figure out what was going on.

    Also they were \”hostile\” ewwww call the dirty look police!

    Frankly, I both ride and drive. When I ride it\’s very easy to spot people walking around and even when I am blowing through stop signs at full speed I\’ve never even come close to hitting one, honestly I can\’t fathom how you would unless you\’re an uncoordinated sod.

    I do run stop signs, often times I see no reason to stop at them, no cars, no people whooptie do.

    I don\’t run red lights, unless I\’m spacing traffic, in which case I pace myself in advance of automobiles and create a situation where neither of us has to deal with eachother. It\’s safer for everyone.

    I see idiots in cars every freaking day threatening people\’s lives. I\’ve never ONCE seen anyone\’s LIFE threatened by an idiot on a bike.

    There\’s not much a cyclist can unintentionally do to threaten ANYONE\’s life. Even if you ran square into somebody at full speed the likelyhood that either of you would die is not so high.

    Again, you\’d have to be a total idiot for that to happen.

    However when driving my big ass truck I\’m well aware that the simplest lack of attentiveness could easily cost several people their lives.

    I drive with utmost awareness in my truck, because I have much lower perception of my surroundings than on a bike. On my bike, I can\’t imagine a situation where I\’d hurt someone by any of the actions I make.

    I ride all week and drive on weekends to fun destinations.

    It can\’t be an US vs them mentality BECAUSE I AM THEM. Again, until any of these idiots have ridden a bicycle in traffic they simply can\’t fathom the atmosphere or dangerousness experienced daily by cyclists.

    I\’m not at all surprised by the stupid comments following the article, these are the same people honking and spitting and revving their engines and swerving me out of their way everyday.

    Also, the idiot using his bike to attack the guy with wife and kids in the car?

    I would gladly knucklesammitch that man.

    Sounds like a real class act.

    I\’ve been berated by car drivers a thousand times. I\’ve never once threatened one, and I never will.

    Unless they\’re blocking my path why should I care what some idiot thinks?

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  • Nick July 10, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    Blame the media, blame people who ride bicycles, blame Martians — but I identify with Yates. As a non-cycling motorist, I\’ve seen a LOT of people in the last few weeks ignoring traffic laws just because they happen to be on a two-wheeled metal self-powered contraption… a couple of times, I\’ve thought, \”Those self-righteous cyclists ride around like madmen but the second one of us (motorists) has a near-miss with them they go ape.\”

    I consider myself a courteous driver, someone who will pull off the downhill side of Germantown Road if I see 6 cars stuck behind a cyclist going uphill so the unsafe situation can be averted. But if cyclists want to be self-righteous — and the behavior of the pack of cyclists after McAtee\’s attack would indicate a fair amount of self-righteousness — they should make sure they have the moral high-ground.

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  • Whyat July 10, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    Colin Yates got a blatantly drunk driver off the street. Good job on that.

    That there are cyclists here who would justify Steven McAtee\’s behavior is pathetic. When I used to be into fast cars, all the car communities I belonged to had ZERO tolerance for street racing, breaking traffic laws, speeding etc. The Portland bike community needs to adopt the same attitude. Any biker who brazenly flaunts the law should be ostracized and made to feel like the ass they are. This whole \’I\’m a biker and a martyr too\’ is completely pathetic.

    I\’ve somehow manged to bike daily in Portland for 3 years and have never been yelled at, flipped off, run off the road, etc. Give a little respect and maybe you\’ll get some thrown back your way.

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  • Icarus Falling July 10, 2008 at 2:29 pm


    \”1) There is a HUGE difference between a DRUNKEN, reckless, outta control village idiot driving a bicycle and a DRUNKEN, reckless, outta control village idiot driving a half-TON of metal, glass, and rubber.

    \”2) Without the Zoobombers, the CM\’ers, and the Nekkid Bikers, there would be NO bike culture. Labeling them as \’outlaws\’ is throwing out the baby with the bathwater, an act bordering on UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Review Still We Ride.\”

    I sometimes wonder where you come up with these ideas of yours.

    First of all, drunk is drunk, and vehicles are vehicles, whether pedaled, or driven. Sure one is heavier. That is the only difference in reality when riding drunk. The amount of damage you are able to inflict..
    But, it in no way makes it more right to be drunk and belligerent just \’cause you are on a bike, and not driving.

    Second, I can see how, as an out of towner, you might think that bike culture here exists because of a simple few groups. But this is not the case at all.

    Bike culture exists here because so many people ride bikes. Bike culture existed here before half or more of these commenter\’s, Zoo Bombers, nekkid riders even thought about using bikes for transportation, let alone fun. the bike culture was just more limited to groups of racers, Wheelmen style riding groups, and messengers.

    I do not say this to trivialize these mentioned groups, or anyones bike culture. it is just a fact.

    And in fact, I believe that the \”fortunate\” downfall of Critical Mass has actually been good for bike culture, as the negativity and lack of thought process involved in many rider\’s idea of Critical mass just tends to set us back in time as a bike community. Let\’s hope it does not effectively rear it\’s ugly head again.

    It is truly a sad fact that many of the vents and rides that are thrown/ put on are much more illegal than any of the atrocities we like to pin on the everyday driver. Brad is not wrong in pointing that out.

    I have been involved in throwing, planning, racing/riding in many events, where you would cringe at the violations of common sense, let alone violations of the rules of the road.

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  • Todd Boulanger July 10, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    Out here in the suburbs…the coverage is actually worse…the suburban edition of the Oregonian in the newspaper boxes have a different version:

    \”Cyclist Clubs Driver with his Bike\” and a photo of a big black bicycle on the front page.

    I have to wonder if the Oregonian has covered other traffic collisions (car driver hits bicyclist) with a similar bleeding headline and top of the fold front page position!

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  • Was the driver wearing a helmet? July 10, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    Another advantage to the fixie… reduced weight makes for easier wielding.

    Did he have a front brake?

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  • Paul Tay July 10, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    Icarus, 145, agreed on most points. The PDX bike \”culture\” certainly existed way before I EVER thought about hitting \”your\” town.

    There is a point to be made about going beyond vehicular cycling. Flash back to 20 B.A, Before Automobiles, there was NO Uniform Vehicle Code as we know them today. Most of the current vehicular laws got enacted by a whole lotta wiseguys in the State Sausage Factory, because motor vehicles, tons and tons of metal, rubber, and glass, were causing a whole lotta DAMAGE.

    While I am NOT advocating law-breaking, there is a point to be made for BEYOND vehicular cycling.

    And, with so many kewl urban rides involving seed bombs and sexy panties, etc etc, \”impeding\” traffic on any given night, CM probably has outlived its relevancy in PDX. But, where da SantaCon CM at? 😛

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  • Resident July 10, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    No Difference at all. Drunk is Drunk Jackass, Call a cab. If you cycle drunk you could very well end up as a dead hood ornament due to your lack of judgement. Then the person \”you\” hit has to deal with the fact that he killed you. Selfish. Take responsibility for yourselves people!

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  • Paul Tay July 10, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    Resident, #148, yeah yeah WHATEVER. I drive DRUNK, whether I\’ve had a drink or not.

    Drive DRUNK. Drive CRAZY. Guess what? Duly insured motorists give CRAZY drunken cyclist WIDE berth. It\’s not really about taking responsibility for killing some creep on a bike. Motorists don\’t really like to get their nice paint job messed up. 😛

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  • Joe July 10, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    I was chased by a car driver and he almost
    knocked me off my bike, then his last method was to try and tackle me off my bike. ( waiting for my in the middle of the road ) all for a stop sign he said i blew threw!

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  • Irene July 10, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    \”Even if you ran square into somebody at full speed the likelyhood that either of you would die is not so high.\”

    I disagree. The pedestrian you run into at full speed gets knocked to the ground, their skull could be cracked and the person could die.

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  • fred July 10, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    \”I am not a bicyclist or a motorist, I am a person\”

    Is that the best you can do, JM? Sounds like something I once heard on Barney. Obviously you\’re at a loss for words when one of your \’brothers\’ freaks out.

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  • Hillsons July 10, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    rocko(108) did you not read the article, Yates is a bicycle mechanic. It\’s little wonder Yates is moving.

    Does anyone know the name of the person that punched McAtee? I\’d like to buy him a drink.

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  • Paul Tay July 10, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    #160, Joe, yep. There\’s a quiet little WAR going on in the streets. Kinda like the civil war between insects that happens 24/7.

    DON\’T fight hard. Fight SMART. >:-P

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  • JJ July 10, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    I haven\’t seen Colin Yates in several years, however have known him for at least 15 years and can say that he is truly a huge bike nut / enthusiast / advocate. Colin started riding his bike year yound to and from work at a bike store for many years before it became the hot mode of transportation that it is evolving into now. For anyone questioning whether or not he\’s a bike advocate – he definitely is. I did not witness the altercation he was involved in – however, considering his love for all things bike – I believe he did what would have been appropriate for the actions taken by the biker.

    I bike too, and always try to follow the rules of the road, which I believe in Oregon applies to all moving vehicles using the streets – no moving vehicle of any sort should be blowing through stop signs and red lights, not driving under the influence of any judgement impairing chemicals and in addition, we should all be yielding to pedestrians when sharing the same path. It also helps to have a healthy respect for maintaining personal safety and not doing stupid things just because you can.

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  • chris July 10, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    Way to go Stephen McAtee! Have fun in Colorado. I hope your new criminal record gives you more career opportunities.

    And way to go bike mob. At least you refrained from any street justice.

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  • Klixi July 10, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    Weird, I\’ve never seen or been part of any bike vs car war. I just ride. Seems people who are always eager for confrontation perceive the conditions on the street as being far worse than they really are.

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  • Roid Landis July 10, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    I think the Oregonian actually played this up bigger on its front page than it did 9/11! Nice work, Oregonian!

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  • chris July 10, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Yes yes… I know… Yates is going to Colorado. not McAtee. I messed up. Any bets Stephen McAtee will be chided at work?

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  • rt July 10, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    I walked the Hawthorne Bridge every morning for about 5 years – I just got tired of the bike-a-holes and walk a different way now. Face it, most cyclists are arrogant self centered hate filled jerks with a sense entitlement to all they can travers. I\’m talking as a walker not a driver. Most cyclists just hate everyone that is not on a bike.
    This guy is just one example out of thousands – just one who got caught.

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  • n8m July 10, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    Yet more reasons to boycott corporate media. How many do we need?

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  • KT July 10, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    Brad #42 and everyone else calling for respect of all other road users: RIGHT ON.

    This isn\’t about bikey people or car-y people, or skater-y people, or whatever-y people. It\’s about PEOPLE. And it\’s about time we all figured out that it\’s NOT ALL ABOUT US.

    If you want to use the roads, you need to learn how to coexist with the other people on the roads.

    Laws only work when you can trust the rest of society to follow them. We ALL need to be playing by the same rules, or it just doesn\’t work.

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  • Adam July 10, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    I completely understand why the Oregonian covered the story; if you ride a bike or drive a car in Portland this is news you can relate to. Judging from this comments section I\’m about the 150th person who feels compelled to speak out.

    I understand and appreciate the idea of staying away from labels, but that\’s burying our heads in the sand. If we insist on separate or upgraded facilities and infrastructure then we must accept real differences between ourselves in terms of how we move about the city. The fact is that we do do \”bike counts\” not \”people counts\” on our roads and bridges. And we have bike lanes and highways that are off limits to bikes but not cars.

    This is a critical issue, people are literally dying because of traffic and awareness problems with bikes and cars. I would think that rather than condemn the paper for running the story up front we should be celebrating the opportunity to pursue this discussion further. The subtext of the story (as I read it) is that there are conscientious bicyclists out there and the morons who anger all of us may well be drunk drivers. And that\’s one title that sticks whether you\’re on a bike or in a car.

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  • bearhat July 10, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    i had the chance to work for Colin at a local bike shop. him and his family are active people in the biking community. rather ironic that such a situation would occur with him involved. he\’s a commuter, racer and has worked in the cycling industry for many years. i\’m sure he was just pointing out to this fella that he\’s just making other cyclists look bad by acting like a jackass and potentially causing an accident by blowing a stop sign.

    apparently bikes are now used as weapons when you\’re too intoxicated to rationalize with your own words? ridiculous.

    i wish Colin and his family a successful move to Colorado. too bad this debacle had to occur right before leaving.

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  • Paul Tay July 10, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    RT, #170, you got that RIGHT, my man. I must admit I\’ve always wanted to slap some ped where da sun don\’t shine. But, really haven\’t. Jerk on two-wheels here. 😛

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  • BURR July 10, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    There would be no story if Colin Yates had just minded his own f\’n business and kept his mouth shut.

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  • Deborah July 10, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    I agree with cn #144 \” I\’ve seen expressed is that cars are out to kill. That is the most horrible, incorrect mis-characterization of the average driver I\’ve ever come across.\”

    I find the vast majority of drivers to be aware and courteous when I approach any type of stop sign. Many, many times they clearly have the right of way but they wave me through.

    I ride in at 5am and if there are no cars in my sight lines I do blow the stops, and I was called out on it by another rider, who was probably 30 years younger then me. Feeling very chastised I stopped at next stop only to see the little sh*t blow through it and the next three.

    We all probably have a need, or desire to call others out for their infractions, but are we all blameless? And do we become belligerent with guilt when we in turn have our errors brought to attention?

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  • Matter Guy July 10, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    I realize that McAtee\’s behavior is inappropriate, irresponsible and unacceptable.

    Other side of the coin: I haven\’t seen anybody give him a pat on the back for riding a bike instead of driving a car.

    I know, you say, \”it\’s still wrong to drink and ride, and it makes all of \’the cycling community\’ look bad\”. I agree. But I\’d prefer getting knocked on the head with his fixie over getting run over by his pickup.

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  • Torfinn July 10, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    RT, I also hate other people on bikes if that makes you feel any better.

    You\’re one of those bastages that walks the wrong way on the Hawthorne all the time aren\’t you?! Gah, I hate those idiots… they give you looks of incredulouseness as you wiz past them because they\’re making double walled walking traffic.

    Everyday I see these bozos and wonder why it is they choose to walk the wrong way every day.

    Irene, while it\’s theoretically a possibility I\’ve never heard of an instance where it\’s happened. Have you?

    COnsidering the brashness in some of the Oregonian posts you\’d imagine this was a regular ordeal.

    However, I\’ve definitely heard of the tens of thousands of pedestrians every year killed by auto mindlessness.

    I mean, what are we really bickering about here?

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  • Anonymous July 10, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    Fred @ 162
    _\”Is that the best you can do, JM? Sounds like something I once heard on Barney. Obviously you\’re at a loss for words when one of your \’brothers\’ freaks out.\”_

    Seriously? Did you actually read this posting? Or did you just miss the point entirely?

    The point, Fred, is not about who was right and who was wrong, or even about what went down. This is about how labeling, generalizing, and blowing up a minor news story (that has a \”bikes vs cars\” angle) into a front page cover story are all things that divide us (human beings traveling) and fan the flames of anger between users of different vehicles that share the same space. Do your part Fred and DON\’T give us no JIBBER JABBER foo.

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  • Mjolnir July 10, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    I agree with everything Jonathan has said above.

    Yates may be a bicycling advocate, but yelling at someone on a bike and honking your horn at them from your car because you don\’t like what they\’re doing on the road is NOT bike advocacy.

    In fact, it\’s startlingly similar to what innumerable jerks in automobiles to to cyclists everyday on the streets of Portland – so frequently, that it\’s not even news.

    Yates and this do-good cadre of cyclists need to get some perspective on what REAL bike advocacy is. The guy was running a stop sign.

    Do you yell at people who flick cigarette butts onto the ground?

    How about all the motorists who drive 10 mph over the speed limit on every street in town?

    Pedestrians who cross in the middle of the block?

    Why do people think it is acceptable to yell at someone because they\’re on a bike when you wouldn\’t do so in the other situations? Even apparently self-described bike \”advocates\” are anti-bike.

    None of this is meant to defend the actions of McAtee. They are indefensible. Getting charged with multiple crimes and fired is probably a fitting punishment for those actions.

    Here\’s a news flash for everyone who fancies themselves self-appointed traffic cops: There are unstable and drunk people out there who will assault you if you yell at them. I\’m not saying you shouldn\’t feel entitled to exercise your First Amendment rights, I\’m just saying that you live on Planet Earth.

    And finally, ask yourself this question: Why would people gather around Yates and assume that he was responsible for the altercation?

    Because people driving cars do that to people on bikes every day. Apparently even \”bike advocates\” feel it is acceptable to harass people on bikes.

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  • Tom July 10, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    Way to Go Collin!

    I admit to being on Collins side cuz I\’ve known him a long time. He is pretty nice guy. Had the drunk been stranded with a flat, Collin would be the guy to stop and help him out.

    I think it goes to show that most of us are cyclists and motorists. I admit to breaking traffic laws in both modes.

    But smashing my bike into someone else\’s car….that is out of line. I am embarrassed that the actions of the rider could be construed as anything that represents the cycling community, he needs alcohol counseling, and should be condemned to commuting on a bus full of squealing middle school girls.

    One more lesson learned… the people that came to the rescue of the Drunken cyclist need to get real. Not every cyclist is a saint, quit assuming that two wheels make you right.

    The hours of volunteer time, advocacy, teaching, counseling, repairing, encouraging and just being a nice person Collin has put into the Portland Cycling community should be commended. Way to go Collin. Have a beer on me!

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  • Rex July 10, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    Fred @ 162
    _\”Is that the best you can do, JM? Sounds like something I once heard on Barney. Obviously you\’re at a loss for words when one of your \’brothers\’ freaks out.\”_

    Seriously? Did you actually read this posting? Or did you just miss the point entirely?

    The point, Fred, is not about who was right and who was wrong, or even about what went down. This is about how labeling, generalizing, and blowing up a minor news story (that has a \”bikes vs cars\” angle) into a front page cover story are all things that divide us (human beings traveling) and fan the flames of anger between users of different vehicles that share the same space. Do your part Fred and DON\’T give us no JIBBER JABBER foo.

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  • Anonymous July 10, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    I agree with BURR. If everyone opened their big mouths about others\’ driving and biking behavior, horns would be constantly honking, fingers would be furiously flipping, lips would be flapping… Fortunately, most Portland area drivers and bikers do mind their own business and stay calm.

    I have found that people who lecture cyclists, claiming they bike also (around the block with their kids), usually reveal themselves to actually dislike bicyclists and/or like to start fights. Cyclists who run red lights annoy me, but I\’m not their mother.

    Yates could have kept his mouth shut and McAtee could have exercised good judgement. Sounds like they might deserve each other.

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  • Patrickz July 10, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    I just came back into the site to catch up with the replies, and having seen only this last one (#177), I have to say that in all my years of commuting (25+) and exploring Portland by bike, I have encountered more courteous, attentive and friendly drivers than bikers, much as I always speak out for, defend and uphold bicycling.
    Enjoy the sunshine and be nice, people!

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  • Sodapop Johnson July 10, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    \”I\’m hyper aware, and I don\’t do dumb things like run lights or take chances because I might get hurt or killed. If I was on a bicycle I\’d ride the same way. I just don\’t understand bicyclists that think their sense of entitlement is going to protect them from an accident. Ride safe, and pay attention.\”

    I think it\’s silly to claim that cyclists\’ sense of entitlement is going to protect them from an accident, and to follow that up with advice to pay attention. It\’s precisely because we pay attention that many of us run stop signs. We can see and hear if there\’s a car coming and honestly, I don\’t see the harm in ignoring the law if the intersection is clear. Just because it\’s against the law doesn\’t necessarily mean it\’s harmful or wrong.

    Be careful. Run stop signs. Drink soda.

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  • Dave Thomson July 10, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    Too bad Yates didn\’t take the guy\’s bike away and smack him with it. Waking up in jail with the imprint of his own crank on his forehead might have been educational for McAtee. Unfortunately it appears from other posts that Yates is really a nice guy, even if he was driving a car.

    Kudos to the unnamed bystander who punched McAtee out. Unfortunately we don\’t know if he is a real hero or just a pretender until we find out if he rides a bike or drives a car.

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  • Klixi July 10, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    I agree. I\’ve dealt with more inconsiderate cyclists this summer than inconsiderate drivers.

    And I\’m a cyclist who doesn\’t have a drivers license and hasn\’t owned a car in 7 years.

    I almost want to print up tshirts that say \”IM A CYCLIST WHO APPRECIATES THE GREAT DRIVERS IN PORTLAND\”

    Go anywhere else in America and find drivers who are as courteous as they are here. Sure, not all of them are perfect, but look at how many moronic cyclists we have in this town.

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  • Mike July 10, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    Seriously, doesn\’t McAtee\’s pic just look like a d!ck? Sucks to be him.

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  • Joe July 10, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    # 164 Paul, yep! guess what i did? rode towards him full speed hoping he would move, but he didnt so i power slid right up
    to him and sprinted away. * he reached for me but missed * ;-P some would have jacked
    him.. but im a nice guy.. who knows.. hehe

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  • aburke July 10, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    I disagree about keeping our mouths shut about stupid behavior. There are so many people doing idiotic things, and they need to be reminded they are endangering other people ASAP. Before someone gets hurt, perhaps themselves. The police cannot be expected to do this, unless you want to pay for a lot more police patrols. Say something, and you might just save a life. It applies to drunk drivers (cars or bikes) or dumb drivers (again, cars or bikes). And respect traffic laws – they are there for a reason.

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  • Bob July 10, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    I\’m looking forward to my bike commute home today. Not going to let a story like this get me down.

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  • Drew July 10, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    Bah, they are both idiots.

    The driver for sayin shit.
    The biker for reacting.

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  • Torfinn July 10, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    I\’m going to blow atleast three stop signs on my commute home.

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  • anonymous July 10, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    It\’s a good thing McAtee was too belligerent and enraged to ride off, otherwise Yates would be stuck with the bill in fixing his car and another bicyclist would go free.

    I can\’t wait for the day someone in government gains some sense and requires bicyclists to be licensed, have license plates, and insurance so the rest of us have some recourse when they break the law, and cause accidents, and gleefully ride off without worry.

    Not all bicyclists are bad, not all drivers are perfect, but at least the system makes it possible for drivers to be held accountable…we need some changes.

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  • brett July 10, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    I\’m sorry, but a lot of you have missed the point. The point is that \”Two wheels good, four wheels bad\” cannot be an operating philosophy. It cannot be reasonably disputed that the biker was in the wrong here. Yet all the bikers that showed up on scene assumed that the motorist was at fault – to the point of calling 911 and reporting that a car had hit a biker! (Whoever made that call should be prosecuted for making a false statement, btw.)

    And many here ascribe equal fault to both parties, which is heinously unfair. This is called partisan behavior – you sympathize with the biker because he\’s on your team. And you instinctively distrust the driver because he\’s not. Even though he\’s a bike mechanic. If you display partisan behavior, you get the same thing from the other side, and no one gets anywhere.

    Call a spade a spade – the biker was a drunken ass, and those who showed up and assumed the biker was a victim were wrong to do so.

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  • Mike July 10, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    Out of curiosity, would you do the same if he was driving as recklessly as he was riding?

    Colin may have saved that moron\’s life, or more importantly, someone who was on their bike crossing WITH the light.

    Everytime some jack@ss runs a stop sign or stop light, they are putting my life in jeopardy. I may be safe in my 4runner, but no one can deny that once you\’ve killed or injured someone, your life changes; usually not for the better.

    As a cyclist, I know I will get hit by vehicles; I\’ve been right hooked twice this summer already. I am equally certain that someday I will hit a cyclist with one of my vehicles. The sad part is that like getting right hooked by an inattentive driver, I may be completely in the right and unable to avoid it. That doesn\’t really change the outcome though, does it?

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  • SkidMark July 10, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    If by \”gleefully ride off\” you mean ascend to heaven after dying, which is the usual outcome of bike vs. motor vehicle. And usually the driver gets away scott-free.

    Cosmic Retribution.

    I want that afternoon edition blown up into a poster. I want to paint a mural of it. Man Bites Dog indeed.

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  • Roma July 10, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    Over at they have a poll up:

    \”How do you grade local cyclists when it comes to obeying the rules of the road?\”

    Guess what \”grade\” has the highest percentage? This just keeps getting better and better…

    The double standard is ridiculously irritating. I see TriMet drivers breaking traffic laws literally every single day – and most the time it\’s running red lights downtown.

    Why is it ok to lump all cyclists together, but not motorists?

    The media coverage of this is way over the top (as per usual I guess).

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  • Hillsons July 10, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    This could have just as easily happened to Jonathan if anyone remembers a previous story, the one where he yelled at a cyclist for running a red light? What if Jonathan had been in a car, and the guy running the red light had been McAtee? There is no excuse to ever assault someone.

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  • Brady July 10, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    I find it crazy that you can be convicted of drunk driving if you are on a raft and holding a paddle (or on a sailboat) but not while on a bike. If you make the same association with driving a car as driving a boat then shouldn\’t the same rules apply to non-motorized road vehicles as they do to non-motorized water vehicles? Let\’s just have the same rules for everyone and lets follow them.

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  • Torfinn July 10, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    lmao! Will somebody please save my car from all the cyclists running into it!

    Please, it\’s in dire need of cosmetic attention.

    Ohhhh the humanity!

    Brett there\’s nothing Partisan about sensibility, almost all of us both drive cars and ride bikes.

    You\’re blowing a trivial matter out of proportion in an attempt to skew the conversation in your favor.

    When I ride through a stop sign, I can easily see there are no cars, and I can deftly avoid peds crossing with the slight flick of the wrist or squeeze of the brakes.

    The same does not, will not, and has never been the case for motoring. It\’s inherently more dangerous for everyone including the other motorists and you\’re attempting to make a portrayal that this is not the case.

    Hardly sensible.

    I know for a fact if I ever right hook a cyclist IT\’S MY FAULT. Just the same as if I took a right turn from the left hand lane and plowed into a car next to me.

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  • Torfinn July 10, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    Hillsons, who exactly is saying McAtee is in the right? As far as I can tell everyone thinks he was a dumb drunken douche who deserved to get knocked out.

    I also think the vehicle driver is a douche for trash talking someone and then being surprised when a bike flew into his mouth.

    Mind your Biz people.

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  • Ugh July 10, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    I agree. I\’ve dealt with more inconsiderate cyclists this summer than inconsiderate drivers.

    Me too, Klixi. I\’ve even thought about taking the bus some mornings. The motion sickness from the bus almost seems preferable. It\’s exhausting.

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  • Beefa July 10, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    The first time i met that collin guy was @ the gallery DT. I walked into the service department to ask a question regarding my bike. He looked me up and down, saw my radio,bike bag amd promptly told me to go to the front counter. I asked him politely enough.He got annoyed and nearly yelled \”FRONT COUNTER\” when I tried to get an answer from another mechanic. He walked into the back after that.

    The second time I came into contact with him, he past me within an inch on my right heading south on broadway, without warning, only to say \”Get a Helmet\”, blow the light on Yamill and take a right onto taylor.

    Not the Saint he\’s made out to be in my opinion.

    By the way, my friend saw that it was a man that got out Colins car and \”cold cocked\” the other douchbag cyclist. Not some random passerby.

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  • Diogo July 10, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    This is what I think:

    The article in the Oregonian is an awful piece of journalism.

    I like Johnatan\’s approach to \”transportation-based\” identity roles (it really doesn\’t make any sense).

    Two people being confrontational and stupid got into a fight – that is not that big deal.

    The fact that so many people in Portland make such a big deal out of breaking a traffic law in a bike shows, I think, that a provincial mentality is pervasive. You know, all this moral judgement about other people\’s personal behavior (\”Oh my god, he blowed a stop sign\”); this discourse based on a preoccupation about what others will think about you (\”You give us a bad image\”): all this attitude is so backwards!

    Breaking a traffic law does not always create a danger. I drive and I ride. By experience I would say that, in a bike, more often than not breaking the law does not crate any danger. It\’s easy to see why: most traffic laws were created for cars. Bikes allow a proficient rider to safely avoid stoping until the last moment, making him able to blow stop signs with control, safely.

    I hold the opinion that is always better to be corteous to others. And that includes minding your own business and not trying to police others out in the streets. I find that rude, self-righteous, arrogant and mean-spirited. And to censure someone else – a stranger – with that kind of morality of \”what will other think of you/us?\”: that\’s just mediocre.

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  • toddistic July 10, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    1. Red light
    2. dude was drunk
    3. the dude in the car is a bike mechanic.
    4. you can drive a car and be a bike advocate.

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  • Mjolnir July 10, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    I\’m sure Mr Yates has never once exceeded the speed limit or failed to come to a full and complete stop while driving his car, because, of course, by doing so he would deserve to be honked and yelled at and would give all us drivers a bad name.

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  • SkidMark July 10, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    Beefa, why does your story not surprise me? What is it about Subarus and self-righteousness that go hand-in-hand?

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  • Klixi July 10, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    What kills me here is how so many of you try to justify breaking the law by running stop signs and red lights. Who cars if it\’s 3am and you\’re in the middle of nowhere. A law is a law. Just slow down, stop, and push off again.

    This is what is so vexxing about cycling in Portland. I ride because I love being on my bike. I want my ride to last as long as I can. I don\’t want to race through every intersection in a huff and puff, I want to casually ride, enjoy the sights and smells of summer. If someone feels the need to race as fast as they can to where they\’re going, they need to leave their house earlier.

    There in no excuse for breaking the law. If you want laws changed or a stop sign removed or changed into a yield sign, contact the proper authorities and begin the process.

    Jeez, slowing down and stopping takes a few seconds, it makes you look good, it makes cyclists as a whole look good, yet some people think they don\’t need to obey the laws, and then they get mad if it\’s a citizen who calls them out on it instead of a cop. What a great logic.

    No love lost for these folks who disregard the law. They make drivers view cyclists as a whole (which includes me). Be respectful of your peers and the citizens in your town, as well as your laws. You are not special because you ride a bicycle. It just means you made a great decision… so don\’t goof it up by making bad decisions.

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  • AJ July 10, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    The us-them should be courteous vs. non-courteaus. Both drivers and cyclist need to understand that the road is shared and that laws dictate our actions. Everyone needs to stop where indicated and everyone needs to obey all other rules of the road. There is no special rules for either group and those that feel they can disregard laws need to understand there are consequences. If everyone obeys the rules and is courteous to each other the road would be a more pleasant place to be…(I am a cyclist and enjoy being in cities where both cyclist and motorist share the road with respect and in lawful manner).

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  • wsbob July 10, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    \”There would be no story if Colin Yates had just minded his own f\’n business and kept his mouth shut.\” Burr #176

    McAtee demonstrated that he was an out of control, psychologically unstable drunk that may likely have been the source of a far more serious story if Yates hadn\’t stepped in. Something on the order of \’Drunk Cyclist Hits and Kills Child in Crosswalk\’.

    \”I also think the vehicle driver is a douche for trash talking someone and then being surprised when a bike flew into his mouth.\” Torfinn #202

    Torfinn, just where do you get the idea that the driver of the car, Colin Yates, \’trash talked\’ to McAtee on the bike? I read that he \’chided\’ McAtee about blowing the stoplight. \’Chided\’ means harsh, angry criticism or disapproval. It doesn\’t mean profanely insulting someone for no particular reason other than a desire to inflict pain, which is what I\’ve been led to understand \’trash talking\’ is.

    If there had been more than a handful of functioning braincells in McAtee\’s head when was on the bike, having met up with Yates, McAtee would have kept his mouth shut, his blurry, drunken eyes on the road and ridden on (or preferably got off and sat down while he sobered up.

    We\’re all fools if we let drunken idiots take over the world we have to live in. Colin Yates did the right thing here in a situation where there wasn\’t a lot of better options available to him.

    It would have been better if he could have just called the cops and said something like \’I think there\’s a drunk guy on a bike driving through stoplights\’, but since there was likely no way the cops would have been able to catch McAtee under the circumstances, chiding McAtee was at least doing something.

    Also keep in mind that some people are licensed to carry concealed weapons. McAtee should be saying his prayers out of thanks for the fact that the driver of the car didn\’t have one and that he still has his head intact because of that fact.

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  • SkidMark July 10, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    wsbob, you could also say that Colin Yates is lucky to have his head intact because some people have a license to carry concealed. Once again the perception of cyclists as being peaceniks or wimps, and this time it is a cyclist reinforcing the stereotype.

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  • Beefa July 10, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    Hey Wsbob. I\’ll make sure I gun it up to a cyclist (hopefully you) next time I see one run a light/sign on their bike. I\’ll scare the piss out of them/you and see how you/them will react. But why would you/them be scared? I\’m just a cyclist in a car, speeding up to you, letting you know that you are giving all cyclist a bad name,Right? But you know that before hand did you not? Wsbob? Mabey I should have chased collin down when I saw him run a red and taken out my lock and started screaming at the guy for running a red. Lets see how saintly that guy would have been at that moment ehh?

    I\’m not defending whats his face, but, If you get out of your car, you want some!

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  • Zachary July 10, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    There\’s been a post every 3 minutes for the last 10 hours. Now THAT is Portland for ya.

    I was counting bikes for fun at SE 26th and Clinton for an hour last week and counted 190 bikes between 8:15 and 9:15. At least 8 people barely slowed down before blowing by one of the stop signs. Mostly men, though I did see a a couple of ladies do it. I thought about yelling out, but just decided to keep my mouth shut.

    Don\’t sweat the small stuff, eh? We\’re all cousins.

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  • jami July 10, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    cn #144, the rules of the road are super well-explained in a pdf called \”pedal power.\”

    just remember that whatever the law says, people are terrible careless drivers. stay defensive.

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  • kwh July 10, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    SkidMark, you got it all wrong whats a right hook? Oh that\’s a car making a legal right turn when a bike creeps up to the corner and and puts themselves in harms way and then blames the motorist.

    This is typical bike activist attitude. The typical \”its not my fault, those bad motorist just wont share the road and watch out for us while we disregard the rules and do stupid things that put could could kill me.

    get off your holier than thou high horses and learn how to ride \”safe\” like I did when I used to commute 25 miles a day on some of the busiest streets in portland and gresham before there were bike paths and idiots using them wrongly. (like riding on the wrong side of the road)

    I have personally witnessed more bikes running traffic lights than I have witnessed cars running red lights.

    I\’ll share the road will you

    Bike idiocy is a Portland thing. I have lived in many other cities and I never had any issues with bikes like I\’ve experienced in portland

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  • Ethan July 10, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    What if McAtee had been behind the wheel of a car? The Oregonian should put that in their pipe and smoke it.

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  • JJ July 10, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    Well he wasn\’t so the point is moot (and stupid).

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  • Duke of Earl July 10, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    I heard that in America if you\’re drunk you get a DUII. Let hope the DUII charge does not stick, if it does then he needs to give his bike to his grandmother for a spell.

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  • chris July 10, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    Since bikeportland posts released inmate pictures ( here is the drink-and-bike picture of Steven Mcatee:

    How\’s that PBR tasting now?

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  • finamin July 10, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    yates did the right thing
    mcatee did the wrong
    same ole same ole song.

    their positions could
    easily be switched

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  • Caroline July 10, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    I consider myself a tremendous bike & bicycling advocate, ride and talk about riding all the time, but have to drive a car to work due to its on-call, long commute nature.

    So, when I see cyclists putting themselves and others in danger by running stop lights (mostly just the stop light thing), I get very upset… scared really. MOSTLY because I think, \”What would I do if I accidentally hit one?\” I nearly die inside thinking and worrying about it. And so, quite often, I have to bite my tongue to keep screaming at them.

    I just do a better job at it than Colin (but I think the same!).

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  • dennytron July 10, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    1. Anyone who has ever run a stop sign/red light or ridden drunk can go ahead and log off or zip it with the hypocrisy.
    There are huge holes in this story because of the shoddy reporting the rush to sensationalize. Guess what, if its after 10pm on a Sunday night and the crickets are chirping I\’m gonna run the red too.
    2. All you preachers out there who enjoy correcting the wayward who forget a helmet or run a light or roll their pant legs 3 times instead of 4 are accomplishing NOTHING except pissing people off with your smugness. No one is going to change their actions after your rant. If you want any real change then just live it and engage in real relationships with the \”wayward\”. Change happens after consistent, applied effort. No other way. These naked and critical mass rides, as entertaining as they are, fall into the same category. Those that bike dig them while those that don\’t get pissed. No one is improving the world by plugging traffic, just indulging their own narcisism.
    3. The \”bike community\” and the community at large are cannibalistic. We\’ll sacrifice Mr McAtee to the gods of a specious civility so that we don\’t have to admit to ourselves that we all have the potential for the same actions. \”Oh , I\’m not like him except for that one time when I was riding home drunk after a really bad day and some smug little man in one of those hated cars started honking, yelling and following me.\” We\’ve all had to make the choice to back down or to escalate and go for it. Usually people make the correct choice but its a fine line. Mr McAtee will receive the full justice insured by our legal system for assaulting someone but apparently that is not good enough for some who are demanding his job (his occupation is irrelevant), any future life prospects and his secret stash of PBR.
    Rock on New York
    Rock over London
    Nintendo, now you\’re playing with power

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  • Jennifer July 10, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    I recently moved to a new place on SE Ankeny from downtown and have been amazed at the amount of red light running, stop sign running, etc. cyclists in this area. That and riding drunk while screaming at midnight (quite common) after hanging out a few blocks away (bar off of 28th and Burnside). I don\’t think this was an isolated incident (drunk while biking) and I hope people get their act together. My husband is a long time cyclist who commutes a long distance to work daily and even he says at this point after dealing with the rude cyclists in this area HE feels like running them over sometimes. People need to get a grip and realize they\’re not special because they\’re on bikes–the rules still apply and that angering people does not help things. If they\’re pissing off dedicated cyclists like my husband what are they doing to people who already think cyclists are idiots?

    I\’d also like to bring up (though maybe this is another topic) the behavior of probably only 10 percent of riders, but still, on the Eastside Esplanade. I\’ve been walking with our 6 year old on there quite a bit and there are a lot of cyclists who feel the esplanade is a personal race way. There are a large number of people on road bikes who use it to race each other and expect everyone else to see them/get out of their way when they come at high speeds. I don\’t feel as a PEDESTRIAN that I need to yield to bikes when we\’re both on a WIDE path–let me clarify that–I walk to the side and my child does too but I don\’t feel like I should have to jump into the dirt or bushes off the trail so that five idiots with $2000 bikes can race each other on the walkway making it clear that anyone in their way will be run down. Let\’s be nice to each other. I cycle but I mainly walk and I don\’t feel like I don\’t count because I\’m a pedestrian when I\’m not on a bike. A few weekends ago the esplanade was packed with people on a cancer(?) walkathon and the behavior was still happening–groups of 10 pedestrians having to jump off the path for the bike racers. Not cool. It\’s a shared path.

    Lastly, FOX news was set up earlier tonight at 20th and Stark recording bikes going through the intersection so I\’m sure they\’ll be showing lots of cyclists blowing the light tonight on the news. You may even see yourself.

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  • no name July 10, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    If I am on BIKE and see someone run a red light or stop sign; I yell at them, and let them known that they just ran a 240.00 ticket.
    If I am in my CAR I just keep it to my self and any one that is in the car.

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  • finamin July 10, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    as a community we
    sometimes need to
    call each other out
    on acts of stupidity,
    whether you\’re a cyclist
    motorist, anarchist
    or buddhist,
    otherwise the cops
    will gladly increase
    their authority,

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  • My 2 cents July 10, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    You know for all the pummeling the Oregonian is getting for putting this above the fold, the number of comments on this site shows the interest in this subject. I say 300 comments by midnight. A new record?

    Geez, maybe those geezers at the O aren\’t so \”not with it\” after all.

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  • CardioBoy July 10, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    This story is like Christmas for me. All you people who are too lazy to stop at intersections need to work on your cardio. Given enough training, coming to full stop then accelerating to your previous pace will not be that tiresome.

    I love watching geeked out cyclists blow stop signs, like they are doing some kind of special olympics time trial.

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  • sad July 10, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    perhaps people SHOULD call out others more often about breaking laws, in both motorized vehicles and on bikes. Go to any East Coast City, and you constantly hear honking. Honking is a way to tell others that their actions are not appropriate in the current situation. Yes, it can be annoying at first, especially if you are from a place like Portland where NOBODY honks, and when somebody does, it instantly raises the blood pressure of everyone who hears it. Maybe people are just too polite in Portland and we\’re too used to looking the other way most of the time in the name of \”Live and let live\” The problem is that whenever somebody does speak up, they are told to \”Mind your own business.\”

    Maybe people should just realize that their actions always have the potential to cause undesirable outcomes regardless of whether they think so or not. You should just try to not do stupid things that could cause harm to others.

    PS – I saw a policeman on a bike blow a RED LIGHT on NW 25th on Monday night… didn\’t even slow down. I just thought it was interesting and worth mentioning.

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  • George W Bush July 10, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    I think it is great to see all of the cyclists with there panties in a bunch !!! When will you above the law cyclists learn that this is not your city ??

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  • SkidMark July 10, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    kwh: A right-hook is what causes us to have green bike boxes next to ghost bikes. Please review ORS to see who has the right of way at intersections when a car is turning. It is the bike travelling straight, whether there is a bike lane or not.

    I drive a car occasionally and I rode a motorcycle for many years. Riding a motorcycle is what really galvanized my contempt for the average car driver. Too many \”I didn\’t see hims\” and more than once being laid out by someone in a car making a moving violation such as – running a red light.

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  • Beefa July 10, 2008 at 10:09 pm

    I was in Boston last year. I rode through a near riot between Red Sox and visiting Yankee fans near Fenway. An east coast city Portland is not. Be thankfull

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  • Home to roost July 10, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    To #231

    Who does the city belong to? It would be a start if we could work together. And stop looking at people\’s panties, please!

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  • MIke M July 10, 2008 at 10:24 pm

    Forget bicyclists and motorists. Have you guys seen airplanists. Sometimes the take the planes over and crash them and start wars. I can\’t believe they are making all airplaneists look so bad.

    Sorry if that was overly offensive. Just making a point.

    I almost exclusively ride with my son now, either in tow or on his own bike and everyone, cars, bikes and walkers, have been so wonderful (downtown, north portland, se, east portland). Someday he will grow up and I\’ll have to ride alone again. Hopefully, I will remember how kind everyone was to my son. Like when he fell over in the middle of an intersections and everyone waited patiently while he cried and I picked up his bike so he could walk to the side walk.

    Maybe the problem is that people don\’t see people, like when the giant SUV, slammed his horn at me while I was buckling my 9 month old\’s seat belt with my car door open. I don\’t think he saw the baby. Or else he probable would not threatened to kick my ass after I asked him if he was joking. He just saw a jerk blocking traffic.

    Maybe if we make ourselves people to the cars as much as possible it will help out. Try saying thank you every time a car does what they should, and saves our life. Say hi or wave to a car stoped at a light.

    Sorry this is getting mushy. I have flipped off my fair share of cars. And guarantee I will flip again. But I also know that flipping off a car will not help myself or them (them being the motorists me the bicyclist(unless I am in the car(then it is the other way around))).

    Thanks for reading if you got this far. For those of you who are reading to be more angry about the same thing you where angry about when you started reading, I hope I helped.


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  • Andy July 10, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    To all those who think that blowing red lights is cool because \”I\’m on a bike, who am I harming? I can\’t kill anyone on a bike.\” Consider this.

    1) Bike blows red light.
    2) Car, in a panic, swerves to miss bicycle.
    3) Car strikes pedestrian (also crossing legally with traffic), killing him/her.

    Just because you have no regard for your own life doesn\’t mean you aren\’t risking others.

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  • finamin July 10, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    indeed sad, in deed

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  • Forseti July 10, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    I\’m a bike advocate and I had to drive to work today. After I read this story, I drove down McLoughlin Blvd through SE PDX at 6pm and during the 15 minutes I spent on the road I counted 47 people in cars and trucks who were breaking the law (speeding!). Because I\’m a Driver, I thought they were making me look bad. So I \”chided\” them all by rolling down my window and then yelling and honking at them. Then I was surprised when they got mad at me.

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  • Ken July 10, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    I must say I am suprised at how many \”people should mind their own business\” responses are on here.

    My friends were at Pier Park a while back playing disc golf and they see some guy starting to jack a bicycle. They chased after him and stopped the theft in the process, and even when he got away they took the time to call the police and give a full description. Should they have just minded their own business as well?

    If you don\’t want people telling you that you are breaking the law and being unsafe then either don\’t break the law or else buy a boatload of land where your next neighbor is far enough away they can\’t see what you are doing.

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  • Stripes July 10, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    Interesting that this story makes it onto the front page of the Oregonian, while last year\’s arguably more disturbing incident along Clinton St, where a driver intentionally ran over two bicyclists in a case of road rage, dragging one bike 75 feet down the road under his car, didn\’t make it onto half the entire front page of the paper –

    Another reason I don\’t read the Oregonian.

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  • Gumby July 10, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    In my view, many of the traffic laws are completely arbitrary. I am not willing to spend my time waiting around for lights to change because the law says so, or to set examples for car drivers, blah, blah. I run lights and stops signs on both car and bike in a safe responsible way. But I also don\’t sit at lights when there are no cars coming, for instance.

    It\’s my life and my call and I don\’t ever want some goody goody telling me how I broke some lame traffic rule. I could easily see how that could make someone go ballistic, particularly if the goody goody failed to buzz off.

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  • Sodapop Johnson July 10, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    Klixi @ 210 \”A law is a law. Just slow down, stop, and push off again…. There in no excuse for breaking the law.\”

    Just because it\’s the law doesn\’t mean it\’s right or it makes sense or we should obey it. That\’s some funny logic.

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  • wow...just wow July 10, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    I know Colin, he\’s a great guy and a committed cyclist. Sad to see him leave stumptown on a note like this. But then I think…

    that many of you flaunt how you regularly break traffic laws as if it is your right…

    that many of you morally equate telling a person to not run a stoplight with several counts of physical violence…

    and then many of you blame and chastise the victim of an ASSAULT…

    Maybe Mr. McAtee is more representative of cyclists in Portland that we think, and maybe Mr. Yates is glad he\’s leaving.

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  • Johnee July 10, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    The loss of civility in our society is simply amazing. George W. Bush could not put it better than \”Gumby\” — I\’ll do what I want, the law does not apply to me, we, as a society do not set rules, I do. But as to civility — courtesy goes a long way. Because a cycle can use the lane doesn\’t mean it is courteous to block cars. Because a car can race past a bike and cut it off doesn\’t make it civil. It might be time to grow up, take the chip off the shoulder, and act like an adult — or like the person you would want your child to grow up to be. Civil, human, generous.

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  • Anti-bike fruitcakes July 10, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    These anti-bike fruitcakes have absolutely lost their minds. Where does this fixation and hostility towards cyclists manifest? Hear is the bottom line: All day, every day, every week, all year, car drivers break the \”law\”. They speed everywhere, run lights and stop signs, park illegally, drive in bike lanes, drive aggressively, talk on cell phones, eat, put on make up, screw with the radio, drive drunk, drive without licenses and insurance, crash into people and other vehicles and on and on. Where is the self righteous indignation and anger for these drivers? Cars are a dangerous, polluting, expensive nuisance that causes more property damage, deaths and injury in a year than world of bikes could cause in 100 years. Not to mention the costs to our society of building and maintaining roads, obtaining oil, policing and insurance premiums. Imagine how much cheaper your health insurance would be if you didn\’t have to be sharing the pool of risk with auto drivers! We need car free health insurance. Cars are 3000 lb death machine hunks of metal so, all it takes is a slight swerve to intimidate, assault or murder someone. I am sick and tired of living and commuting in a society that bends over backwards to accommodate these death machines and conversely, goes out of it\’s way to make all other forms of transit slow, intimidating or high risk. These anti-bike zealots have an entire country of infrastructure built for their death machine and get all bent out of shape when someone else wants to use a different form of transportation. Cars are economic slavery; gas, insurance, maintenance, repairs, car payments, fees etc. Break free of those shackles and ride a bike! Oh and fuck the anti-bike fruitcakes.

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  • jeff July 10, 2008 at 11:23 pm

    I have known Colin for years… he is a good guy and lives bicycles. There is nothing wrong with calling someone out on their (in this case illegal) actions, but sometimes there are consequences in being the voice of reason. Should the fact that some drunken idiot might attack you for trying to save his life and improve cycling in Portland shut you up?

    I don\’t think so.

    I must say that as a cyclist, Portland would be a safer place to ride if Police would begin to enforce more traffic laws upon cyclists. The rules of the road are the rules of the road, people.

    Oh, and I love that some guy punched out this McAtee fellow… he wins my \”Best Person of the Day\” award.

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  • wsbob July 10, 2008 at 11:27 pm

    SkidMark….true….the guy on the bike might have been carrying, but let\’s think about what the driver of the car did to express his annoyance and concern about the guy on the bike blowing the stoplight: He honked his horn and angrily scolded the guy on the bike for blowing the stoplight.

    That kind of response is not particularly uncommon for any road user to expect when they disregard traffic laws. The person on the receiving end of the scolding might not like it, but in a rational, sober state of mind, most people will figure out that they had it coming, maybe even apologize, and quietly go on their way.

    That\’s what Mr. McAtee, 31 years of age, employee of the city should have done. Are some of you seriously thinking that because driver Colin Yates honked his horn and scolded/chided rider Steven McAtee, Steven McAtee had some kind of right to attack driver Yates car and person?

    According to the O article, Yates got out of his car after McAtee struck it with his bike, not before. I\’d hardly call that looking for a fight. When he does get out of the car, what does he do? Does he rush in and clean McAtee\’s clock? No. He puts his hands up defensively, and takes the blows before returning to his car for protection. That\’s not what I\’d call looking for a fight.

    It\’s only after he gets out of the car again, and takes more blows, that someone (according to rumor, someone from Yates car)finally decides enough is enough and takes McAtee out with a punch.

    I don\’t think a punch was the most ideal way to restrain McAtee, but under the circumstances, maybe to the person that threw it, that seemed like the only reasonable option. Especially since none of the bystanders felt moved to help restrain McAtee in a less violent manner.

    It would have been preferable for Yates might to have called out to the guy on the bike, McAtee, less angrily and not honked his horn. Perhaps then, McAtee wouldn\’t have went off the deep end into assault.

    I definitely favor a quiet, respectful approach over an angry one, but I do think that everyone should be conscious of their conduct on the road and working to be as responsible as possible in using them. Personally confronting other road users and expecting to be confronted when we\’re not doing what we\’re supposed to on the road, is part of doing that.

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  • Eileen July 10, 2008 at 11:33 pm

    Too many comments to read them all, so I hope I\’m not repeating.

    First, totally dumb that this became front page headlines. As Jonathan pointed out, this is pretty regular stuff and stories of bikes being run down by cars, which happens all the time, where are they? I cannot see what good the Oregonian hoped to achieve by running this story on the front page except to stir up controversy and sell papers.

    Next, someone asked why motorists care if bicycles break traffic laws and how in any way it would affect them. Okay, there are a LOT of answers to that question. One, is that I don\’t want to kill you. I really, really don\’t want to kill you (even a dweeb like Steven McAtee has a mom who loves him I\’m sure). It helps me feel secure that I won\’t kill you if I know that you aren\’t breaking laws like blowing stop signs and sneaking up to pass me on the right (ooh, that one drives me nuts – not legal for cars, hence not legal for bikes). Also, when you blow a stop sign while I am in my car nearby and I\’m not expecting it, it causes a stress reaction which shortens my life. If I have to stop suddenly because you didn\’t, it causes unnecessary wear and tear on my car, lowers my mpg and puts me and my passengers at risk for whiplash.

    But it goes deeper than that, you all love to bandy about the word community, but what does that mean? Does it mean every man for himself, winner takes all? The first person to get across the intersection wins? The attitude of traffic laws optional does not bode well for living in community. The traffic laws are there for a reason, it may slow you down momentarily, but, if followed, allow for the general flow of things to go more smoothly for everyone. As our population increases, the need for strict enforcement of traffic laws will also increase. There are lots of benefits to living in community. For example, you can flip a switch to get electricity in your home. If you want to do whatever the hell you please, go live by yourself and have fun chopping wood.

    Finally, I have no sympathy for Mr. McAtee. I might have done the same as Colin Yates. Just a few weeks ago I yelled at some teenagers who were speeding past a park full of kids as I was putting mine in their carseats. They stopped at the park and as they got out of their car I yelled at them in my best teacher voice, \”speed limit\’s 25\”. Guess what their reaction was? Did they come and attack me with crowbars? No, they grinned sheepishly and apologized. Granted, I am a woman, I had 2 little kids with me and I have the well-tuned ability to deliver a guilt trip with one look. But to me, when you are called out on something that was most definitely wrong, the only thing to do is act sheepish and apologize. Otherwise you are just an a-hole and someone ought to tell your mother.

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  • anonymous July 10, 2008 at 11:36 pm

    I don\’t mean to attack anyone\’s character here but I do know Colin and I know he is certainly a macho dude.

    Just sayin.

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  • yerbusted July 10, 2008 at 11:39 pm

    The Portland cycling community began with great intent but now is nothing more than the quintessential angry villagers, except wielding bicycles now instead of torches.

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  • P July 10, 2008 at 11:45 pm

    Gumby (241) I feel the same way but these days if others are around, I\’m going to suck it up and obey the law as I\’m not interested in giving people more ammo against cyclists. Traffic law and logic don\’t always coincide, most of us can accept this, but right now given this perceived \’cultural war,\’ I\’m not willing to give anyone an excuse to attack my mode of transport or take it out on another biker.

    All of us cyclists are going to suffer b/c of this incident. Now\’s not the time to make a point of blowing lights or stop signs. My rule of thumb is, if there is no one around, I\’ll proceed with caution. If there are others around, particularly cars, I\’m going to make a point of obeying the law.

    Riding strictly legally, will actually often frustrate motorists even more but it doesn\’t give them further argument against cyclists.

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  • E.L.E. July 11, 2008 at 12:02 am

    Steve McAtee is not a bad person. He is an exceptional employee and a dedicated father. I don\’t know how this could happen.

    Let\’s not have any lynchings.

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  • Ashland Bi-Cpinster July 11, 2008 at 12:07 am

    The problem that gets me is the MOB MENTALITY. That\’s what Yates encountered.

    Y\’all should be ashamed. I hope those that are defending McAtee don\’t have the displeasure of encountering an angry drunk in a car.

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  • Roma July 11, 2008 at 12:19 am

    \”But to me, when you are called out on something that was most definitely wrong, the only thing to do is act sheepish and apologize. Otherwise you are just an a-hole and someone ought to tell your mother.\”

    If I was one of those teenagers you would have gotten the finger. Call the police (or my mother) if you want, but unless you have some type of authority over my behavior, shut yer trap or be prepared to deal with the response.

    FYI – My response would be non-violent. I\’m in no way advocating what the drunken moron of a cyclist did.

    Stop trying to equate rolling through a red light on a bicycle with reckless driving of an automobile. They are not even CLOSE to being the same thing.

    People are acting as if this guy in the car was on some moral high ground and it was his civic duty to call out the cyclist. Not to mention the absurd comparisons people are trying to make. Stopping a theft in progress is so far removed from yelling at someone out your car window it\’s ridiculous to even think they\’re the same thing.

    If you want to play vigilante and police the streets of Portland, then you\’re taking your chances of getting a reaction that might get you hurt or worse. The last time I flipped someone off while driving was years ago, because the guy I flipped off chased me and was trying to run me off the road. I learned not to taunt strangers.

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  • Ken July 11, 2008 at 12:37 am


    You didn\’t bother to read all the responses so I doubt you will see this but it IS legal for a bike to pass you on the right. Yet another case of a driver who doesn\’t understand the laws when it comes to bikes.

    That being said, I have already gotten a few calls from from friends who are not cyclists who are using this as an example of how entitled cyclists feel they are. We are now attacking our own who call us out on breaking laws. Nice.

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  • Nick July 11, 2008 at 12:41 am

    The sad part is that there are so many people here who will defend the right to break the law, and to be dangerous on the road, yet will spend their days railing against the \”evil\” motorists on the road. It\’s sad that this attitude is so prevalent on this website (and amongst many cyclists in Portland). I always thought Corvallis (especially near the University) was a horrible town for law-breaking cyclists (I say that as someone whose main mode of transportation in my years at the school was walking, and as someone who witnessed many near-misses, and some hits, from cyclists running the stop sign at Monroe and Kings), but Portland takes the cake. In Corvallis, I nearly hit a cyclist with my car as he blew through a red light (didn\’t even bother looking at the lights or traffic conditions), but that was a rarity (save immediately surrounding campus)… not in Portland. At least in Corvallis, the police would make a thinly-veiled attempt to cite riders for, say, riding without headlights (though you\’d only receive a $10 fine for doing so)… in Portland, they don\’t care. The cyclists in Corvallis aren\’t loud, nor brash; many are ignorant, but not arrogant. Portland is a completely different story.
    My experience (having friends in Portland who mainly commute via bike) is that many Portlanders are just fine on a bicycle… but there are a very vocal, and sometimes very dangerous, group who act differently. And sadly, I can\’t say it is a minority…

    I don\’t understand how anyone can suggest Mr Yates was in the wrong here…

    Also, I\’m sorry, but you have nothing to bring to the table if you attempt to compare speeding with blowing through stop signs and stop lights.

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  • Nick July 11, 2008 at 12:47 am

    Oddly enough, in many cases, if a bike passes you on the right (unless you\’re at a light), they may be breaking another law (not to mention, riding in a manner that could be dangerous to them or others on the road).

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  • Klixi July 11, 2008 at 2:22 am

    LOL @ drivers who come here, start their post with \”I haven\’t read any of the comments, but here\’s what I think\”, then goes on a senseless rant about how having to stop her car at a stop sign lowers her miles per gallon, adds wear and tear to her car and puts her and her passengers at risk for \”whiplash\”.

    Classic. Seriously. That\’s as good as it could ever get.

    Sodapop Johnson @ 242 \”Just because it\’s the law doesn\’t mean it\’s right or it makes sense or we should obey it. That\’s some funny logic.\”

    If you disagree with the law, do as I said earlier and contact the proper authorities or political figures and begin the process to have the law you disagree with changed. If you decide that isn\’t worth your time and you\’re just going to break the because you find it dumb, don\’t be surprised by the consequences.

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  • AngelWolf July 11, 2008 at 7:53 am

    I love the different attitudes in the comments. \”Yates should drive less and cycle more if he\’s a cycling advocate.\” is one of my favorites.

    I also love the sentiment \”Police your own\” that gets bandied about so frequently when applied to the cycling community. How many of us would chase down another car while we\’re driving and chastise them for breaking the law?

    It\’s not my responsibility to make sure that anyone but me follows the traffic laws. Same as it\’s not my responsibility to go around arresting people who shoplift, rob, rape and murder. It\’s everyone\’s responsibility to make sure they themselves follow the appropriate laws.

    Your actions do reflect on others, even though they shouldn\’t, so stop worrying about everyone else and start policing yourself.

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  • toddistic July 11, 2008 at 8:03 am

    \”Also, when you blow a stop sign while I am in my car nearby and I\’m not expecting it, it causes a stress reaction which shortens my life.\”

    ROFL, seriously? try almost getting taken out by a driver not paying attention and almost killing you or having a school bus pass you unsafely with 6 inches between him, you and parked cars. get some perspective soccer mom!


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  • Lazlo July 11, 2008 at 8:15 am

    @Gumby #241

    You\’re an idiot and a menace to society. I hope I never cross paths with you whether riding or driving. Do I fully stop at every stop sign? No. Often I treat them as yield sign. But lights are another story. And running them in a car? Inexcusable. You might think you\’re sure it\’s clear, but someday you might be wrong.

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  • Jean Reinhardt July 11, 2008 at 8:19 am

    Quite bizarre. I know Colin Yates–friends of mine used to work with him at BG. Good guy and most undeserving of a drunk\’s rage. Colin just learned that when you wrestle with a pig you get muddy and the pig likes it.

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  • Dave July 11, 2008 at 8:32 am

    The local news is so wrong in their reporting of this issue, it makes me rather sad. It\’s not a \”bikes vs. cars\” storyline. It\’s a \”Colin vs. Steven\” storyline. …Two people that made bad decisions of varying degrees.

    From my POV:

    -If you\’re in a car, look out for peds/cyclists/etc. and don\’t antagonize fellow road users.

    -If you\’re on your bike, don\’t put yourself in harm\’s way and don\’t antagonize fellow road users.

    -In summary: Don\’t antagonize people you don\’t know. Unless you\’re a police officer, you\’re not getting paid for this work, you don\’t know what people are capable of at any given time, and you\’re likely not trained to deal with the worst case scenario.

    No matter who you are, be safe out there first and foremost. It\’s the practical matter of trying to live another day to sell your ideas of a better world.

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  • Whiney McWhinerson July 11, 2008 at 8:43 am

    Wow. That is A LOT of pointless blather.

    Things I like:
    Unsubstantiated theories
    Purported facts
    Weird \”community\” / \”us vs them\” arguments
    General hatred.
    \”We must…\”
    \”Drivers always…\”
    \”Bikers always…\”
    \”You must follow the law…\”
    \”I always follow the law.\”
    \”I usually follow the law…\”
    \”I don\’t follow the law…\”
    \”I stop at stop lights but blow stop signs (but I\’m sensible)…\”
    \”Running a stop sign in a car is NO different than running it on a bike.\”
    \”Running a stop sign in a car is TOTALLY different than running it on a bike.\”
    \”I hope I don\’t see you out there…\”
    \”It makes me angry when people honk.\”
    \”Why didn\’t he use his lock?\”
    \”He\’s a drunk F*ck.\”
    \”He\’s a good guy.\”
    \”He\’s arrogant.\”
    \”He\’s a good dad.\”
    \”What if he was packing heat?\”
    \”I would\’ve…\”
    \”Cars are good.\”
    \”Cars are evil.\”
    \”Bikers are arrogant, self-centered jerks.\”
    \”Bikers are the best!\”
    \”You\’re an idiot and a menace to society.\”

    You\’ve all convinced me!

    At least Jonathan/ is making some money off the hoopla.

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  • KT July 11, 2008 at 8:56 am

    I see the O has a large follow-up story on the front page this morning… and the original story fostered 263 comments on this site.

    Apparently, the topic of transportationists, bikeists, carists, was way past due.

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  • […] As if most people aren’t, in fact, both. Jonathan at, again, was the sane person in the debate: I am not a bicyclist or a motorist, I am a person. I hope someday everyone begins to understand […]

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  • rixtir July 11, 2008 at 9:09 am

    @ 252,

    McAtee might be an exceptional employee, and a dedicated father.

    That doesn\’t mean he\’s not a \”bad person.\” He\’s a drunken road-rager (and lolz, can\’t even back it up or take a punch, lolz), and that makes him just another a-hole on the road.

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  • wyatt July 11, 2008 at 9:13 am

    a lot of these comments from cyclists are disgusting. i have never, and still do not feel like i\’m a part of this elitist, two-faced \”bike community\”.

    keep up the fantastic work.

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  • wsbob July 11, 2008 at 9:28 am

    Roma….\’taunt\’…what does that word mean to you? We certainly don\’t know exactly how driver Yates reprimanded rider McAtee, but from the sound of it, \’taunt\’ was not it. Yates angrily scolded or as the O article says \’chided\’ McAtee.

    Here\’s what \’taunt\’ means (according to my cheap little wordweb dictionary) taunt: \”Harass with persistent criticism or carping\”.

    Other words that might imply the same thing as \’taunt\’, are \’tease, goad, antagonize\’. From the reports, that doesn\’t sound at all like what Colin Yates did.

    From various comments made on this thread, it\’s amazing to realize that some people commenting not only believe they should be able to disregard traffic safety regulations at will, but that they should also be able to do so without being criticized for it by anyone on the road but a cop.

    That those people imagine they as road users, are accountable to only themselves and a whatever police officer that may happen by when they\’re ignoring safety traffic regulations, represents a completely distorted perception of what entitles them to use the road.

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  • rixtir July 11, 2008 at 9:33 am

    Actually, wsbob, when \”the entitled\” get ticketed for flouting the law, they come here and whine about that too, so no, they don\’t even think cops should be calling them on it.

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  • rixtir July 11, 2008 at 9:37 am

    And as far as what triggered the incident, there\’s more to the story than the Boregonian printed. Yates was interviewed by KGW last night, and he said McAtee was riding erratically and nearly collided with Yates\’ car, and that\’s when Yates admonished him about his road behavior.

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  • Roma July 11, 2008 at 9:44 am

    \”From the reports, that doesn\’t sound at all like what Colin Yates did.\”

    What report did you read? I don\’t think either of us can judge his tone and there was no account of what he actually said. You have to be a special kind of person to play traffic cop and yell at a cyclist out the window of your car. Also, instead of driving off and getting safely away from the crazed drunken idiot, Yates decided to escalate the incident and get out of his car. Doesn\’t sound like he\’s exactly a pacifist.

    In reality we ARE only accountable to ourselves and the police. I see drivers breaking the law daily. I have no authority to stop them or punish them for their behavior.

    The term \”no cop, no stop\” didn\’t originate with cyclists…

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  • everyone July 11, 2008 at 9:53 am

    i was almost hit by a bicyclist this morning, as i was walking on the sidewalk in the downtown district wherein cyclists legally may not ride on the sidewalk. he was also heading the wrong direction on a one-way street. too bad he did not have a license plate that i could have taken down and reported.

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  • rixtir July 11, 2008 at 10:08 am

    Stopping somebody from damaging your property isn\’t a decision to \”escalate the incident.\” It\’s self defense– the same kind of self-defense that Canadian messenger engaged in when a driver started stomping on her bike.

    And yeah, maybe he could have played the coward and driven off, but maybe he wanted Mr. Road Rager to (1) stop damaging his vehicle, and (2) to pay for the damage he had already done.

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  • Abbey July 11, 2008 at 10:10 am

    I really like this article for challenging the us-versus-them mentality. I moved to Portland about a year ago from a city where there were almost no cyclists on the street. I love it, because now I feel comfortable riding my bike as a viable transportation. I also drive.

    Here\’s the thing, it was a big learning curve for me to learn how to \’share the road\’ both in a bike and in a car. Besides a few \’safety tips\’ pamphlets, there wasn\’t any real way to learn how to ride in traffic besides just watching what other people do and then figuring out what\’s smart and what\’s dumb. The adjustment in my driving wasn\’t as extreme, but it was more nerve-racking because that was when I had the potential to really hurt someone.

    I read some of the comments on here where people say things like: “Why do cars care what bikes do? We can\’t hurt them.” Well, for most people it\’s because WE DON\’T WANT TO HURT YOU. Being someone who often rides, I want to share the road and be courteous to cyclists, but I do get frustrated when I see a cyclist doing something stupid, because that just makes it harder for me to help keep them safe. Obviously, I also get mad when I\’m on a bike and a driver is being a jerk, but it\’s a different sort of mad because I just have me to worry about.

    Traffic laws exist so that there is a certain amount of predictability of what other people are doing. If I ignore a traffic law, I still know what’s going on, it’s everyone else that doesn’t, and that’s where the danger comes from. Cyclists are a lot less predictable than cars, because the roads and the traffic laws weren’t designed around them, and so they need to improvise once in a while. Some even take it further and decide to follow their own rules. This makes drivers nervous. On the other hand, most drivers aren’t good at driving with bikes, regardless of intentions, and it creates dangerous conditions for cyclists. And of course, any group of people always has the jerks that make everyone else look bad.

    Bottom line, cut the entitled attitudes on both sides and be as safe as possible for everyone on the road. The fight need to take place in getting better infrastructure for bikes to have room to safely ride, not in blaming all the problems on people who take a different transportation.

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  • rixtir July 11, 2008 at 10:13 am

    @ 273

    I\’ve been nearly hit by cars and by bicycles while walking. The cars were all sporting a license plate, and they\’ve still nearly run me down, the most outrageous incidents involving drivers intentionally using the mass and high speed of their vehicles to force me out of the crosswalk.

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  • Roma July 11, 2008 at 10:18 am

    \”i was almost hit by a bicyclist this morning, as i was walking on the sidewalk in the downtown district wherein cyclists legally may not ride on the sidewalk. he was also heading the wrong direction on a one-way street. too bad he did not have a license plate that i could have taken down and reported.\”

    This is where it gets tricky. What did the cyclists look like? The liberal bike scene has rules as to who they deem a \”cyclist\”. If he was homeless and/or not wearing a helmet, or on a WalMart bike wearing blue jeans, then he wasn\’t a real \”cyclist\” and therefore exempt from the same high standards that some cyclists seem to hold themselves and others to.

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  • Forseti July 11, 2008 at 10:18 am

    \”Stopping somebody from damaging your property isn\’t a decision to \’escalate the incident.\’ It\’s self defense– \”

    No, actually it\’s \”defense of property.\” Self-defense occurs when someone uses force to repel an assault. Damage to a vehicle is not assault.

    Getting out of your vehicle to engage someone who is damaging it instead of remaining in the vehicle and dialing 911 may be legally permitted (as defense of property), but it\’s generally not a good idea.

    And I think it could fairly be construed as \”escalation\” given that McAtee had already indicated that he would assault Yates if Yates got out of the vehicle.

    If Yates knows that\’s the case, and he admittedly did, why did he get out of the car? To ensure McAtee was held responsible for the damage to the car? He\’d already shown he was able to effectively follow McAtee in his vehicle, so maybe he was looking to escalate things and have a fight.

    But you don\’t really know, because you weren\’t there. And neither do I.

    But I do know that sticking your head out the window and yelling and honking at someone who is behaving erratically isn\’t a good idea either. And it\’s definitely not bike advocacy.

    This is not a defense of McAtee.

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  • Peach July 11, 2008 at 10:20 am

    I like the way you wrote here, it doesn\’t matter how you transport yourself, but in the manner in which you do it. We should all learn to try and relax before we get behind the wheel/s.
    I am appalled at how some people behave on the road (both sides). I really don\’t need to go into examples as we\’ve all seen them.
    I hope that people will start working together on the roads more like a team, instead on working against each other. We\’ll all be safer for the effort.

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  • rixtir July 11, 2008 at 10:23 am

    Yes, you\’re right, it is defense of property, and defense of property is a legitimate use of force.

    Since you seem to know something about self-defense, then you also know that once an assault has occurred or is imminent, then the person being assaulted is legally entitled to self-defense, and that is not \”escalation\” under the law. You know that, right? So why misconstrue the law when you\’re allegedly not defending McAtee?

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  • Roma July 11, 2008 at 10:30 am

    \”…then the person being assaulted is legally entitled to self-defense, and that is not \”escalation\” under the law. You know that, right? So why misconstrue the law when you\’re allegedly not defending McAtee?\”

    He didn\’t misconstrue the law, he clearly stated it might be legal, but it\’s not a good idea:

    \”Getting out of your vehicle to engage someone who is damaging it instead of remaining in the vehicle and dialing 911 may be legally permitted (as defense of property), but it\’s generally not a good idea.\”

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  • jimmy July 11, 2008 at 10:34 am

    I would recommend that unless you are trained in the art of peaceful mediation, martial arts, or wrestled in jr. high and have some basic level of self defense, you are best thinking twice if you want to call out random people who are breaking the law, as though you are the authoritative individual.

    Don\’t get me wrong, I am ALL for calling out folks who are pulling some sort of crap that they wouldn\’t be if there were a police officer present.

    Just be aware that it may come back at you and you need to be prepared for that.

    I personally, look forward to the opportunity bust some jackass fixster when he mouths off to my suggestion that he is also worthy of observing basic traffic laws. One swift blow is all it takes to debilitate a person at the neck or knee.

    Same with bad car drivers.

    I exude great joy in the fantasy of applying my \”wicked nunchuck skills\” to these lame boneheads. As a cyclist, I have experienced a fantastic sense of accomplishment when doing the same to drivers. Dents to the hood/side panel, as well as scratches up the side. What, are you going to chase me down through town, risking further body damage to your precious image-mobile?

    Just follow the laws of the road. They are meant to be fair and are reasonably appropriate. Then, you can call out those others from your high horse, free from that nagging guilt of hypocrisy.

    High-Ho Silver, Away!

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  • Forseti July 11, 2008 at 10:35 am

    Well, I wasn\’t intentionally misconstruing the law. Not sure where you\’re getting that.

    We agree that, as I said, use of non-deadly force is permitted in defense of property. And use of proportional force is permitted in self-defense. And, for self-defense to obtain, as you say, the assault must be imminent.

    How is the assault imminent if you\’re inside a vehicle and someone is outside banging on the hood?

    It isn\’t. So there can be no self-defense. Notice I\’m not accusing you of misconstruing the law.

    If an assault is not imminent, but you know that it will be if you get out of the car, and you get out of the car, you\’re escalating the conflict – perhaps not in the tortious sense because of the privilege of defense of property, but definitely in reality.

    My only point was that getting out of the car wasn\’t a good idea unless you\’re looking for trouble (like McAtee) because (a) your car is insured and (b) there is a very low probability that McAtee will get away without getting caught.

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  • Brian July 11, 2008 at 10:41 am

    Wow, I think the backlash has already started. I was heading down the bike lane on Hawthorne Bivd on my commute home yesterday when I guy in a minivan on a sidestreet looked me square in the eye and pulled right out in front of me, causing me to slam on my brakes. He then proceeded to take up the entire bike lane and slow to a crawl, impeding my progress. I pulled around him into the left lane (I was turning left at the light anyway), and I as I passed him I shook my head at him. His response was to roll down his window and attempt to provoke a confrontation. I calmly told him that he pulled right out in front of me and told him to be more careful. He just laughed and drove off. I wonder what would have happened if I wasn\’t an in shape 220 lbs and calm and confident. I suspect he would have escalated the conflict if I was smaller and showed nervousness, the guy was looking for someone to bully. I\’m sorry to say that I expect to see more of this kind of behavior as more cyclists take to the road. Some people are just unwilling to share the road and feel invincible in their 2k lb. steel weapons.

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  • El Biciclero July 11, 2008 at 10:46 am

    Rixtir – Thanks for using the word \”flout\”, instead of \”flaunt\”. I know technically \”flaunt\” is acceptable, but only because some influential person used it incorrectly once. 🙂

    On a different note, I\’m not sure how I feel about the \”community policing\” comments I\’ve read here. Some folks have indicated that a MYOB attitude is detrimental and allows people to get away with things, but I think there is a distinction between situations where MYOB is acceptable and when it is not.

    If I see what I think is an attempted theft (as was mentioned in an earlier post), that would be an appropriate time to intervene in some way to stop a property crime. If I see someone getting beaten up or robbed on MAX, that would be another appropriate time to at least call the police. On the other hand, if I see a skateboarder (not to pick on any particular group–just an example!) going the wrong way in a bike lane as I drive by in my car, that would be a roll-my-eyes, mutter-to-myself, MYOB moment. Then again, if I encounter somebody going the wrong way in a bike lane and I\’m on my bike headed straight for them, I might say something.

    For the most part, if I stop and take the time to point out that something like running stop lights is dangerous and against the law, do I really think I\’m providing new information to anyone? Is this something they don\’t already know? Are they going to suddenly slap their forehead and experience a moment of epiphany as they realize for the first time that red means stop and green means go? I don\’t think so. The unfortunate truth is that unless I have the legal authority to enforce the law, I will only be perceived as a busybody sticking my nose all up in somebody else\’s binniss.

    The red-light-runners and stop-sign-blowers have already reasoned out in their own minds why it is \”OK\” for them to do those things. Until they are willing to \”walk a mile\” and try to understand how their actions affect others (or their actions affect themselves in some negative way), then change their own behavior based on internal motivation, there is not much use in scolding. I\’ve already seen a confession above (#137) that a $242 fine is not enough motivation to make people quit rolling stop signs.

    Also, to those (I\’m assuming non-bikers) who say \”the bike community should rein in scofflaws\”, that\’s like finding out I\’m from Philly and asking if I know your brother-in-law, Bill. It is not as if everyone who rides knows each other or belongs to some secret society with enforceable by-laws of some sort. Why don\’t drivers scold each other for rolling stops–or worse–not using turn signals? How ridiculous would it sound for me to say the \”Driving Community\” should rein in those aggressive, me-first, scofflaw motor vehicle operators?

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  • CX July 11, 2008 at 10:46 am

    Real simple:
    1) Think with your brain, not your dick.
    2) If you\’re not a cop it\’s not your job to tell people how to drive/ride.
    3) Confronting strangers over things like this is a great way to get the crap beat out of you or even killed.

    Case in point: here in Seattle a 60 year old man was beaten and killed yesterday by an irate motorist. He was watering some plants in a traffic circle and put out some cones to keep people from running over the hoses. Someone asked him to move them and he refused. When the motorist tried to move the cones he sprayed them with water. At that point another motorist got out, punched the man one time, he fell backward, hit his head, and died a few hours later. All over watering some plants!! Did he deserve it? No. Could he have avoided it? Yes. Would have been real simple for him to take a seconds to move the hose and let the car pass. Instead he chose to be confrontational. The motorists also could have avoided the situation but they too chose the route of confrontation.

    My point is it doesn\’t take too much stupidity and stubbornness to result in a tragedy. Imagine if McAtee had hit Yates in the head with his bike and killed him. Imagine if Yates had shoved McAtee and he fell backwards and split his head open and died. Either outcome could very easily have happened. Confronting people like this is stupid at best, dangerous at worse. Do you really have nothing better to do with your time? There are stupid cyclists and there are stupid motorists. There are also plenty of stupid cyclists who also happen to be stupid motorists. None of it is worth risking your life or jail time over.

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  • maty July 11, 2008 at 10:47 am

    To \”Anti-bike fruitcake\” – I think a lot of the hostility toward cyclists in this town is the product of our own frustration and fear, expressed to drivers in unproductive ways that create a backlash that then worsen our situation.

    Cyclists need to keep their eyes on the prize about what it is they want – do they want to be \”right\” or do they want to have a safe city in which to ride? Those goals might SEEM aligned, but they are actually very different (one is about safety mixed with fear mixed with ego and pride, the other is just about safety).

    1) I’d love to see a study or two on how to create “friendly drivers” out of clueless drivers ( I shake my fist and call them stupid or do I try to connect with them as a human – say something, but also smile, wave, and forgive?). Maybe some focus groups or something?

    2) I’d like to see training courses for cyclists after we find out what actions create POSITIVE behavior change on the part of motorists, instead of negative behavioral change (obviously the direction we are going in now).

    It is OUR VISION to have safer streets – so WE have to be the ones figuring out effective, everyday strategies and tactics that can actually make that happen. Clearly, the haphazard route we\’re on right now is not working.

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  • rixtir July 11, 2008 at 10:52 am

    Yates still has the right to get to get out of his car to defend his property, even if McAtee says \”Get out of your car so we can fight.\” Even if McAtee is pounding on Yates\’ car for the express purpose of getting him out of his car to fight, McAtee is still legally entitled to get out of his car to defend his property. One might even argue that Yates is entitled to get out of his car under basic principles of personal liberty, even if he\’s not intending to defend his property or engage in combat. And once he gets out of his car, whether he\’s using force in defense of his property or just getting out of his car, if McAtee attacks, Yates is entitled to defend himself, in proportion to the force used against him, as you said. Certainly, McAtee\’s attorney might argue \”escalation,\’ but legally, that argument isn\’t going to hold water, as Vinnie Gambino might say.

    Whether property defense is the best idea, or whether remaining in the vehicle and calling 911 is a better idea, is a different question, and one on which you make some good points. But I don\’t think there\’s much of a case to be made that, from a legal perspective, it\’s \”escalation of the incident,\” although from some other perspectives it may be.

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  • Klixi July 11, 2008 at 10:54 am

    Roma: HEY NOW! I have a bike shop brand so the Wal-Mart jab doesn\’t apply to me (though I found it funny) but I wear blue jeans when I ride! So do most other people I see! Blue jeans, cargo shorts or spandex seem to be the main things I see.


    On a more serious note, can we all agree to never use silly phrases like \”the Portland bicycle community\” or \”bike culture\” ever again? These kinds of statements generate far more of an us vs. them mentality.

    And some cyclists seem to be a little hypocritical when they say \”this isn\’t a bike vs car issue, its a McAtee vs Yates issue\”

    Does that mean it was also a \”Rinker cement truck vs Tracey Sparling issue\” and not a cars vs cyclists issue?

    You can\’t say that anytime a car hits a cyclist its an us vs them thing, then when a cyclist hits a driver its suddenly confined just to those 2 individuals.

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  • rixtir July 11, 2008 at 10:58 am

    El Biciclero, I think you\’ve hit the nail on the head in #285.

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  • Chad July 11, 2008 at 11:02 am

    If there is any silver lining to this mess, and I believe there is good that will come of this once the smoke clears, it is that the cyclists who run red lights and otherwise believe they are the only users of the road that need not follow the rules will now clearly be seen as the reason why bikes are disliked by people who don\’t ride.

    There will always be the lawless, but because of this incident those who disregard the rules will be pushed further onto the fringes of our \”bike culture\”.

    A week ago these a-holes were simply disliked by the majority of road users (car and bike), now, because of the actions of one stupid drunk, these riders have been exposed as one of the biggest obstacles to bicycles being fully accepted on the roads of Portland.

    As much as I loathe the Oregonian for hyping this story way beyond where it needed to go I am glad the spot light is being shined directly upon the worst of our bicycle community.

    It\’s a shame that some of that light has to shine on all of us who ride.

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  • Icarus Falling July 11, 2008 at 11:02 am

    El Biciclero,

    Ixnay on the ecretsocietia.

    They will find out, then we are screwed.

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  • Forseti July 11, 2008 at 11:06 am

    Nobody was ever arguing that it was legally escalation rixter, as I have already clarified. But I think it\’s telling that you stated \”McAtee\’s attorney might argue \’escalation,\’\” because obviously you are aware that it\’s a colorable argument and that your legal opinion (which I agree with, by the way) may or may not be shared by a jury.

    But, as you well know, the legal rules are only an attempt by humans to fairly sort out the problem after it is over. A post hoc solution.

    In the moment, you have a choice between staying in the car (removing all doubt as to who is responsible for injuries to others, by the way) and getting out at substantial risk to your own life. See CX\’s story at #286.

    I mean, the guy is lifting a bicycle over his head and slamming it on a car. And you\’re now going to confront the guy? To prevent *additional* dents in your car? Good idea?

    My considered opinion is that that\’s just plain stupid. And my opinion is also that there are times when prudent persons prioritize bodily safety ahead of fully exercising legal rights – unless they\’re looking for a fight. Like McAtee.

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  • Forseti July 11, 2008 at 11:07 am

    \”El Biciclero, I think you\’ve hit the nail on the head in #285.\”

    Yep, nailed it.

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  • rixtir July 11, 2008 at 11:12 am

    You know, it is a shame that the light is being shined on all of us, and it is a shame that some of the worst elements of those who hate cyclists are attempting to incite violence, as Brian pointed out in 284.

    But yesterday, I was treated so kindly by so many drivers– drivers who made a point of letting me across a busy street, for example, when they didn\’t have to. Lots of simple courtesies out there yesterday, and I acknowledged every one of them.

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  • Andy July 11, 2008 at 11:13 am

    It wasn\’t that long ago that many of us were up in arms with \”How could people not get involved?\” with the incident on the Yellow MAX line. Now we\’re back to telling people to STFU and let people flout the law until a cop shows up?

    I yell at motorists all the time when they hustle through downtown Portland driving the wrong way. (Happens more often than you think) Should I STFU and let them smack into a car head on? Or some pedestrian who wasn\’t looking for a car moving the wrong way before crossing? Do I let them keep movin\’ on down along the MAX line?

    Granted, I rarely do it with expletives or name-calling, but the intent is still the same. We don\’t know exactly what Yates said, or how his tone was when McAtee decided to put his bike into Yates\’ hood, so I can\’t really make an opinion whether or not he was being confrontational.

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  • Roma July 11, 2008 at 11:13 am

    I think it\’s a misconception to think that motorists dislike cyclists simply because some of them don\’t obey the law.

    If you were riding lawfully down the road, coming to a complete \”put one foot down\” stop at every stop sign, you would be much more likely to irritate a motorist since you would be slowing down traffic.

    When I ride downtown and lawfully pass cars on the right, I\’ve had people turn into me on purpose to stop me from passing them. Most motorists just hate cyclists because they think we impede traffic, or they\’re pissed because we can go faster than them in heavy traffic. Others just plain think we have no place on the road – period.

    If every single cyclists in this town obeyed every traffic law starting tomorrow, I don\’t believe the attitudes of cyclists hating motorists would change a bit.

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  • rixtir July 11, 2008 at 11:26 am

    Forseti, I think what you\’re saying makes a lot of sense, and we\’re probably pretty much on the same page.

    You just have less tunnel vision than I do. And of course, you\’re less hotheaded. 😉

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  • bobcycle July 11, 2008 at 11:27 am

    I think the Oregonian missed it entirely… this should have been a story about what happens when you drink excessively in public. or what can happen if you \”antagonize\” a drunken individual. or maybe we missed it entirely… this is about what the Oregonian thinks it needs to print to sell news in Portland. and it seems to be working.

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  • shrap July 11, 2008 at 11:29 am

    Hey 205.

    I worked downtown for years and had the same reaction for messengers. Most of you suck.

    Notice I say \”most\” not \”all\”. The ones that suck are arrogant pricks. The ones that don’t….they just haven’t bought their first fixed gear yet.

    \”Hey look at me, look at me!!! I can ride a bike with no brakes and a fixed gear!!! I run into cars and blame them for stopping suddenly…Aren\’t I Cool?\” ………….. Get a real bike your f%^&ing retards.

    What you should be saying is:
    \”Hey look at me, look at me!!! I make minimum wage and drink my day’s wages away every night because I am so morbidly depressed that I have to ride a bike in the rain for a living 10 months out of the year\”.

    Cyclist 1 was drunk and beligerent.
    Cyclist 2 in the car was assualted by Cyclist 1 with his bicycle. I am surprised Cyclist 2 did not punch out Cyclist 1.

    carry on.

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  • Icarus Falling July 11, 2008 at 11:34 am

    I can also say, and this is once again not in defense of McAtee\’s moronic actions,

    I have had a few unpleasant interactions with MR. Yates myself.

    I am not going to go into what they were, but suffice it to say he is not entirely the pleasant, bike friendly guy many here are making him out to be.

    In fact I found him to be quite the opposite. I never had a pleasant experience in dealing with him.

    I do not know McAtee, and really don\’t care too.

    Once again, this grotesque media sensation that is damaging the whole bicycle community could have been avoided
    had Mr. Yates kept his personal thoughts to himself, protected his family, and slowly driven away. (He did not know that McAtee was drunk when he yelled at him, so it was a matter of driver bitching out biker, which no one enjoys or wants, and can be actually very intimidating to the biker)

    McAtee is to blame for the attack, but it seems he was goated into it by Mr. Yates.

    I can say this with conviction, for in my many, many years on the road, as a working cyclist and commuter, there have been moments I am not proud of, as I am sure we can all say.

    I can safely say that the situations I was caught up in were escalated by the inability for the other party to either:

    Keep their thoughts to themselves. (especially after they have just tried to kill you/ park on you with their car)

    Or have decided that following/chasing/continued yelling at me is the best way to get their point across.

    Both of these situations appear to have escalated the ugly situation being openly and badly dealt with by the media now.

    I believe it is entirely the case that cyclists in this city are divided between those \”Holier than Though\” who will yell at you for not having lights, or not wearing a helmet etc., and those who know to mind their own business and just enjoy riding their bikes.

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  • Icarus Falling July 11, 2008 at 11:38 am

    I got comment number #200 on another post, and then accidentally got comment number #300 here….

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  • Andy July 11, 2008 at 11:42 am

    Way to make it black and white. How are the light/helmet zealots any more \”Holier than thou\” than the ones who insist on their right to ride w/o helmets in the dark, the wrong way on the sidewalk downtown, and blowing through traffic signals?

    I guarantee you, not all of them mind their own business, either. I had one guy just like that yell at me and punch my car because I had the nerve to block his path as I was making a right turn.

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  • FredLf July 11, 2008 at 11:44 am

    I think the most important question anyone has posed here is \”how do we create more friendly motorists?\” to which I would add \”cyclists\” as well. The streets are crowded and will get more so. The best we can all do, no matter what vehicle, is try to treat each other kindly. Lord knows it\’s hard to maintain your sense of humor when someone\’s inattentive idiocy nearly cost you life and limb, but that\’s what you\’ve gotta do. Confrontation and self-righteousness aren\’t going to change any minds, just the opposite. If you can get someone to laugh at their own foolishness, however…

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  • maty July 11, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Andy #296 –

    Sorry, but…

    I think people who do what you do ARE causing our problems as a whole.

    By snitting at every little infraction a motorist makes you\’re implying that you are perfect, and thus that everyone in your \”community\” is perfect. And, thanks to your arrogant assertion of perfection, every time that driver sees a cyclist breaking a law, he or she gets another opportunity to call out our hypocrisy as a \”community.\”

    And, like it or not, we are a \”community\” from an outsider\’s perspective. We\’re also a \”community\” due to the fact that each of our actions impact the actions of one another (kind of like that drunk guy\’s actions are impacting all of us now). You don\’t always get to pick and choose your communities.

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  • Chad July 11, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    Roma #297

    True, there is more than a few \”reasons\” non-riders come up with to describe their dislike for bicyclists, but ask 10 non-riders what they think about bicycling in Portland and 9 will say that we don\’t stop at stop signs and stop lights.

    To say that the attitudes of those who don\’t ride bikes will not change at all if a greater majority of bikes followed the rules is not only somewhat illogical but is filled with the sentiment that relationships will never improve between cars and bikes.

    I, for right or wrong, believe things will get better…regardless of the missteps both \”sides\” make.

    The progress of the bicycle in Portland has always been a story of two steps up and one step back…we are now just experiencing a step back.

    Following the rules of the road will not make every road user in Portland fall in love with us, but it will help us move those occasional two steps forward (if only in one or two motorist\’s eyes).

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  • Lazlo July 11, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    We are the world
    We are the children
    We are the ones who make a brighter day
    So let\’s start giving
    There\’s a choice we\’re making
    We\’re saving our own lives
    It\’s true we\’ll make a better day
    Just you and me

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  • PDX Forever July 11, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    There has never been a front page article this big when a cyclist was killed by a drunk driver. WTF?

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  • Chad July 11, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    I get to sing the Willie Nelson part

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  • toddistic July 11, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    back on post #125 I predicted of this comment section would get over 300 posts! WOOHOO!!

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  • Andy July 11, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    How does shouting \”Hey, it\’s a one-way!\” imply that I\’m perfect? More often than not, the person driving the wrong way downtown isn\’t even aware of the mistake they just made until they suddenly find oncoming traffic coming at them.

    I\’m not detaining them, I\’m not writing them up for a fine, I\’m not kicking in their door and branding a scarlet letter on the hood. I\’m just one community member trying to help another member avoid an accident down the road.

    I suppose I shouldn\’t yell at cars trying to blow through the barricades at the Twilight Criterion, either? Just let them go on their merry way?

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  • rixtir July 11, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    Fixed gears are not brakes.


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  • Oliver July 11, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    If I quit rolling stops on my bike, am I then entitled to (self)righteous indignation at the (this mornings example, 10 cars, at 4 differnt lights) who sneak through the red after their turn? Or the folks (this mornings example 3 cars at 3 stops) that roll 4-ways?

    Will then I be able to (self) righteously espouse violence toward and/or beseech the creator to visit plagues upon them and their families?

    Or will it come down to this, that people in cars will still get furious that people are passing them.

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  • olh July 11, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    I don\’t get the mentality of bikers in this city. As a pedestrian I have been nearly run done by people on bikes numerous times, and when I have called them out on it (hey! TOO CLOSE!) I get sh*t back.

    As a driver, I have had bikes drive up from behind and go through the intersection as I am attempting a right turn, I had one threaten me with his bike (held over head while screaming) because he thought I drove too close to him. I\’ve had them pull up in front of me at an intersection to block me while they make their turn, blow through lights and stop signs — the list goes on.

    I have a daily fear about hitting one because they do not wear helmets, they do not have lights or reflectors, and no rear view mirrors to check behind them as they make turns or veer in and out of the bike lane. And there are too many on the road who drive aggressively, acting as if every driver is the enemy.

    I am glad this incident happened, because it demonstrates a reality that needs attention.

    The current situation is making it more difficult to support bikes. When I make a driving error and someone honks, my reaction isn\’t to flip \’em off or drive aggressively against them – we\’d have mayhem on the road if that were the case!

    But try honking at a biker who\’s not paying attention, or tell them they need to take care and slow down around pedestrians on the esplanade – and you\’ll get a real earful of aggression every time.

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  • Richard July 11, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    I just hope that I am right when I think that the people who make the paper are a tiny percentage of the people out there. I commute by bike and drive when I need to, and I don\’t see either perps in this situation being \”balanced.\” When I\’m driving and see a biker run a stop sign or go through a red light it really doesn\’t bother me as long as there are is no real danger in doing so. I commute 17 miles by bike to work so I leave at 3:45am and there are plenty of red lights that I stop, see no cars, and run. I do it because it seems pointless to wait when there are just no cars around. Sometimes I think drivers who see the bikers zooming by the long line of cars on the sidewalk/gutter get jealous. I just don\’t see a problem with it as long as it is done in a safe manner. However, I do see some riders ziping in and out of lanes and traffic when its just plain stupid and unfair to drivers. Riders tend to forget that when we ride reclessly we make drivers more vulrable to hitting us on accident. When ever people read \”biker gets hit by car,\” everyone assumes the car was at fault wich is unfair. From what I gathered the driver was pretty self righteous in this situation. I mean whats next, people handing out fake sitations whenever they see a minor infraction broken – its just ridiculous. And as for the rider, well he is a complete moron who needs lots of help. I think that there are times when drivers feel trapped and the only means of expressing their frustration is to blame it on people who aren\’t trapped. A good example is when your the 12th car back waiting on a four way stop and there is nothing you can do about it; then some bicycle rider goes flying by to the right on the shoulder/gutter/sidewalk. When I\’m driving and I see that, I am just wishing it was me flying by instead of sitting there at the mercy of traffic.

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  • Roma July 11, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    Chad –

    Yeah I admit I\’m cynical. I don\’t really believe that there will be any type of cycling utopia where motorists at large respect cyclists as equal users of the road.

    Look at the comments here and elsewhere from people claiming you should have to be licensed and carry insurance to ride a bike. I\’ve seen others claim that cyclists don\’t pay their \”fair share\” of taxes to use the roadways, which is of course nonsense.

    I for one don\’t think bicycles are equal to cars. I think it is ok to roll through a 4-Way stop if there are no cars around. Have you ever been in front of a car at a stop light that\’s not being triggered by your bike? I have – and I ended up rolling through the light when traffic was clear. The car behind me was getting pretty pissed because as long as I was in the way the light wasn\’t going to change. What was the \”right\” action in that situation?

    When I drive, I find cyclists going 5 mph taking the lane on Hawthorne to be insanely annoying (although technically legal). As a cyclists I see people riding on the pedestrian path along Terwilliger and it pisses me off since there\’s a perfectly good bicycle lane to ride in.

    Cyclists routinely do things within their legal rights that pisses of motorists.

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  • Eileen July 11, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    Wow Icarus, 200 and 300, must be your special day.=)

    Ummm… toddistic, I\’m not a soccer mom, thanks for the compliment though. I do think people who feel entitled to break the law need to be called out and by people besides cops – to know it\’s not just about breaking the law, it\’s the effect you have on your community. If you gave me the finger, it would just prove my point. Pride is going to get you. Be nice to your mother, and be safe around kids. Being a member of a community comes with responsibility and you owe a certain level of respect for the other members. We live in the same city, so I expect that from you. Sorry, I know that sounds condescending, but you\’re acting like an adolescent and someone needs to straighten you out.

    And I am very surprised it\’s legal for bikes to pass on the right. It seems incredibly dangerous, as it would be dangerous for a car to pass a big log truck on the right. I see cars do it all the time but it\’s dumb, dumb, dumb. I am an incredibly careful driver, have been accused of driving like an old lady, but cars DO have blind spots. I thought that the laws for bikes were supposed to be the same as laws for cars when they are sharing a roadway. i guess I need to re-read my driver\’s manual. When I am on a bike, I do not pass cars on the right. Legal or not, that is how cyclists die. If I am at an intersection, I wait in the line of traffic for my turn. I ride my bike like an old lady too, I guess, but I have important reasons to stay alive which is more important than being \”right\” or being fast.

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  • rixtir July 11, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    oih, @ 314,

    As a pedestrian, I\’ve also been buzzed by cyclists (as well as by motorists) when I\’m in the crosswalk and have the right of way. Some people just have an arrogant sense of entitlement to do whatever they want, regardless of anybody else\’s rights. And yet, in true hypocrite fashion, they will cry about it \’til the cows come home if somebody violates their rights. What can you do? They refuse to grow up.

    Now, when you\’re making a right turn, you don\’t have the right of way. The cyclist in the bike lane to your right has the right of way, even if you are ahead of the cyclist. Everybody here can recount incidents where some bonehead barely sped past the cyclist before turning, cutting the cyclist off. Sometimes we are able to avoid the collision, sometimes not. But even if you haven\’t sped past, even if you\’re already ahead of the cyclist, you don\’t have the right of way, unless you can make that turn without cutting the cyclist off. The fact that you\’ve had near-misses tells me that you don\’t understand the law on that point. Think of it this way: If you were in the center lane of a three lane street, and wanted to turn right (ignore the obvious illegality for now), would you wait until approaching vehicles in the right lane passed you before turning, or would you cut them off and make your turn as if you have the right of way, simply because you are ahead of them on the roadway?

    You also had incident in hich a cyclist accused you of passing too closely. Every cyclist here probably has a similar story of being passed too closely. One state has a very sensible approach to passing which you would do well to consider when judging passing distance: If you are passing so closely that the cyclist would be hit by your vehicle if the cyclist fell, you are passing too closely. Leave enough room for us to have a margin of error, and we\’ll all be able to get along. If the road is too narrow to make a safe pass, wait until it\’s safe. If we\’re in the middle of a narrow lane, it\’s precisely because the lane is too narrow to safely share, and driving safely will only delay you for a few seconds. That\’s not too much to ask, is it?

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  • Roma July 11, 2008 at 1:15 pm


    \”And there are too many on the road who drive aggressively, acting as if every driver is the enemy.\”

    If you\’re not riding aggressively/defensively and thinking that every car is out to kill you, you\’re not going to last long riding a bike in traffic.

    You wonder why most cyclists treat every driver as the enemy? It\’s pretty simple – the majority of us who ride regularly have almost been killed a number of times by people in cars.

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  • hmoonc July 11, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    1. People on bikes would like to be taken seriously by people in cars.

    2. Many people on bikes do not follow the rules of the road when they are \”representing\” all people on bikes (i.e., there are other people around to witness your actions).

    In conclusion, all else aside, if you would like to be taken seriously, behave in a way that is courteous to others when others are around. Don\’t mess it up for the rest of us.

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  • […] immunity from civil suits initiated by said citizens. Here in Portland the main headline read “Cyclist Clubs Driver With His Bike”. Really? With all the stuff that happened on Wednesday, the Oregonian editorial staff thought this […]

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  • rixtir July 11, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    I don\’t buy that Roma. I don\’t ride aggressively, and I don\’t assume that every car is out to kill me, and I\’ve been riding a long time and am still here.

    However, when I ride, I don\’t assume that I\’ve been seen, and I don\’t assume that the cars around me are being operated lawfully. I think that\’s not quite the same thing as assuming that they\’re out to kill me, though.

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  • beth h July 11, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    Driving drunk is driving drunk, whether it\’s a car, bike or other vehicle. If they bike rider was drunk he deserves whatever the law says he should get.

    This assumes that the law is applied equally to bike riders and car drivers.

    Problem is, it isn\’t. And it can\’t be as long as we are riding bicycles in a landscape designed for cars.

    The world we live in is currently designed for cars, not for bike riders or walkers. As long as that\’s the reality, bike riders must be prepared to assume some risk if they ride transportation. And they should also be prepared for some unequal treatment on the roads. I accept both realities every time I swing my leg over a bicycle. I also do what I can to agitate for change — writing my elected officials, teaching others how to ride as safely as possible, and all the rest.

    But the current imbalance of safety, tilted as it is towards car drivers and away from bike riders, does not ever give anyone the excuse to ride drunk, or to take his/her drunken rage out on another person, no matter what.

    Accept the risk; work for change; and for heaven\’s sake stop whining like babies every time something on the road doesn\’t go the way of the bike rider. Change takes a lot of work and a VERY long time to come about. And it requires fortitude and patience above all else.

    Ride on!

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  • Forseti July 11, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    You wonder why most cyclists treat every driver as the enemy? It\’s pretty simple – the majority of us who ride regularly have almost been killed a number of times by people in cars.

    Exactly. This is a weekly occurrence for me, and I don\’t even ride that far in traffic during my commute. And it doesn\’t even make the news, much less with a giant headline across the front page.

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  • bahueh July 11, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    I really have to question why so many people here have so many near violent/deadly collisions with cars…
    I\’ve been riding/racing/commuting daily for nearly seven years and have had very few…probably 1/2 of them MY FAULT inadvertently…

    maybe better choice of route (I mean, like riding up Hawthorne between 12th and 39th at 5pm in the right lane is a good idea), better eye contact, stopping where you\’re LEGALLY supposed to, taking the lane, SLOWING DOWN, etc. will probably reduce your personal number of conflicts…

    first point: car always wins.
    second point: you can be right, and dead, at the same time.

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  • n8m July 11, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    I posted this on the Oregonian blog. (in the spirit of levity I hope) I doubt it will get published. 🙂 :

    It is a war out there. I\’ve declared war against bicyclists a long time ago, and I am determined we will win. I want all other motorists to join me (alongside Oregonian journalists) in running down as many bicyclists as possible. The time has come to remove these bicyclists from our city for good.

    I am going to take action to get rid of all bicycle boulevards and bike lanes in our city as well. Every time I see a bicyclist on a Portland road I am disgusted. They don\’t even deserve to be called Americans. Our troops didn\’t fight and die in Iraq so that we could grow our hair out and ride bicycles around like children. I am a proud owner of a Humvee and I am not going to share the road with no tree-hugging environmentalist on a bike no matter who they are. They deserve to die alongside all the other Iraqi\’s who stand in the way of my freedom to drive. Its time to step up Portland motorists! These bicylists hate our freedom to drive!

    The Oregonian is spot on: Its motorists vs. bicyclists out there. I can only dream of the day when Portland is as car-dominated and sprawled-out as Los Angeles. The sooner we get these bicyclists off the road, the sooner our dream can be realized. Thank you Oregonian (and the corporations that support the O) for inciting violence and war on our roads and against bicyclists. Lets roll out!

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  • Chad July 11, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    Good point bahueh #325…if you\’re nearly killed once a week you are doing something terribly wrong.

    No, our roads aren\’t as safe as taking a shower (yet), but they are safe enough if you know how and how not to ride.

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  • Forseti July 11, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    \”I really have to question why so many people here have so many near violent/deadly collisions with cars…\”

    \”if you\’re nearly killed once a week you are doing something terribly wrong…[the roads] are safe enough if you know how and how not to ride.\”

    Here\’s more victim blame based on simple ignorance. People driving cars kill approximately 43,000 people each year in the US. They injure many, many more. That\’s about 830 people per week. Name something that kills more people than people driving automobiles?

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  • El Biciclero July 11, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    Oliver said, \”Or will it come down to this, that people in cars will still get furious that people are passing them.\”

    Heh, THIS is a very interesting observation. Who else has noticed that travelers, whether on bikes or in cars, tend to consciously or subconsciously treat their journey like a race? We\’ve all seen drivers who try to sneak past a line of cars and jam into a tiny space up ahead, and bike riders passing at unsafe times or just in time to stop at the next light, etc.

    It often seems as though traveling is turned into yet another competition wherein travelers constantly re-categorize themselves as \”winners\” or \”losers\” based on how far ahead of or behind others they may find themselves. We often stake too much of our pride on our ability to out-maneuver and out-pace other travelers. In that kind of psychology, travelers compete rather than cooperate.

    It also galls some drivers that bikes have a competitive advantage (which certain motorists deem unfair) in that they can \”sneak\” past backed-up traffic and essentially take cuts in line. Here they are, stuck *behind* a bunch of other cars (losing) when \”out of nowhere\” comes a person on a bike passing them (winning). I believe this is the same reason many drivers hate to be stuck behind a pedal-powered vehicle–because they are behind (losing) a wimpy bike hogging the road (winning).

    I think it REALLY cheeses off drivers when they see people on bikes disobey traffic control devices because then a traveler who is already \”cheating\” to some extent (at least in the driver\’s mind) to get ahead (win), cheats even more ostentatiously by blatantly breaking the law.

    Nobody wants to be a loser, but as travelers, we have to subvert the idea that reaching our destination is a competition with fellow travelers and think of it more as a cooperative effort aimed at maximum efficiency for ALL.

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  • […] motorist, Colin Yates, turns out to be a long time cycling advocate. Jonathan writes more about it here and here.Olympics: Final 3 members of the US Cycling team are named. Road cyclists Amber Neben and […]

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  • bahueh July 11, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    hey Forseti? Ignorance? give me freakin brake man, I put more miles in my training and commuting per year than you EVER will.

    how do you think it is that I get by with so FEW bad circumstances and others are having weekly conflicts? please, enlighten me…

    cyclists have responsibility in the situation too…time to grow up and take some. I never once blamed a rider for anything other the the STUPID f**king choices I personally witness so many fair-weather riders in this city making, including running red lights, choosing BAD roads to ride on at BAD times, riding INTO oncoming traffic, etc…

    dont\’ throw a bunch of stats at me man, adn try to pull out generalizations to fit your personal agenda…

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  • Driveabus July 11, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    Sounds like what we have here is a drunk on a bike. Glad they stuck him with a DUI. Hope it has the same impact it would for a motorist. Wonder if he has a history of drunk biking (or drunk driving)? Riding drunk is stupid behavior. Getting drunk is stupid behavior. Running red lights is stupid behavior. But you can\’t fix stupid, can you?

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  • Forseti July 11, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    \”I put more miles in my training and commuting per year than you EVER will.\”

    Yeah, here\’s a perfect example of your ignorance. You don\’t have any idea how many miles of training or commuting I\’ve done, yet you\’ve asserted that, however many I\’ve done and however many more I do, they\’ll never be as many as yours. Aside from being wholly irrelevant to the argument, it shows that you are willing to assert things as facts that you do not know (i.e., are ignorant of). Thanks for making my point for me.

    \”cyclists have responsibility in the situation too…time to grow up and take some\”

    You take responsibility for yourself and I\’ll take responsibility for myself. Deal? Talk about \”generalizations to fit your personal agenda.\” Now we\’ve added hypocrisy to your ignorance.

    Take responsibility for yourself and you will have taken all that you possibly can. Quit worrying about what choices other people on bikes make – you\’re obviously totally ineffective in affecting those choices (despite your many miles in the saddle), so you\’ll save yourself a big headache and the rest of the world your whining if you focus on yourself. What are you, the bike police?

    Did you think of anything that kills and injures more people than people driving automobiles yet?

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  • Opus the Poet July 11, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Back when I was bike commuting 5,00 miles a year in Dallas I averaged one assault every 4 weeks until I was hit from behind by a road raging driver that couldn\’t use one of the other 3 empty lanes on the road to get by me. Things are better now here, but I still wouldn\’t recommend commuting now. I still like to get out of town and ride to other towns…

    Now about the @sshat with the bike, not cool, very not cool. I\’m constantly telling people in my blog to not ride their bikes after consuming alcohol. What alcohol impairs is even more evident when you are riding a bike, or in other words impairment shows at a lower level of blood alcohol on a bike than it does in a car.

    Now as for the Oregonian… 99% of the time the roles are reversed, the drunk attacking with a vehicle is in a car, and the assaulted person is riding a bike, so for a drunken bike rider to assault a motor vehicle and operator it is news. But front page above the fold news? Get real.

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  • Opus the Poet July 11, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    Ummm make that 5,000 miles a year, lost a zero somehow.

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  • Oliver July 11, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    I would like to re-iterate that the vast majority of my interactions with cars when cycling, and with bikes when driving are calm, pleasant, and/or unremarkable.

    Most drivers I encounter in this town are courteous to a fault, and most(that I see) cyclists are not causing any danger to themselves or others, except maybe from the fashion police.

    An increase in use(users) means an increase of bonehead actions intentional or unintentional real or imagined.

    But I suppose that gets us back to the point that the ugly profit driven coverage going on by some of the media outlets is harmful to everyone.

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  • dersins July 11, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    \”Did you think of anything that kills and injures more people than people driving automobiles yet?\”

    How about stupidity? Does stupidity count?

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  • IanO July 11, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    \”Oregonian uses controversial front page story to sell more newspapers. News at eleven.\”

    Yawn. Why should I be interested? I haven\’t read the Oregonian (or any dead tree outlet) for news in years.

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  • rixtir July 11, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    It worked. I just bought a copy of the Boregonian today, first time since 2000. What a disappointment.

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  • Beefa July 11, 2008 at 5:57 pm


    A friend of mine was driving behind collin BEFORE and During the altercation. He says that the guy on the bike didnot start hitting Collins car first. He got off his bike after Collin got out of his car and started to approach him. Apparently he was swinging his bike as a defensive manuver. The guy who hit him was Collins brother. I dont have anymore details at the moment.

    My friends had illeagal fireworks on him so he was afraid to talk to the cops. I\’m trying to get him to change his mind.

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  • kwh July 11, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    Skidmark your wrong again you tou rixtir heres how the oregon bike manual reads

    You may pass on the right under certain conditions, but always do so prudently and if it’s safe to do so (changes to law allow passing on right effective January 1, 2006). Some drivers may want to turn right at the next driveway or street. They may not see you if they aren’t looking your way. Ride at a reasonable speed, and scan carefully for right-
    turning cars (see drawing below). If a car ahead of you is signaling a right turn, do not pass on the right. Do not pass stopped cars at a crosswalk or intersection – they may be stopped to let a pedestrian cross or to let another car through.

    sounds like theres no right hook if the car is signaling to turn right whether the biker is in a bike lane or not.

    read the book maybe it will save your life.

    ride safe

    Biker want motorist to respect them but they dont respect pedestrians Ive had many close calls where bikers have nearly hit me in a cross walk they hardly ever stop. I had to jump out of the way once at OHSU when a bike road up on to the side walk at the crosswalk. He was not crossing he was oncoming and I was waiting for him to go by.

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  • rixtir July 11, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    Sorry kwh, but I am not wrong.

    Bicycles in the bike lane have the right of way over any other vehicle that wants to cross the bike lane. Don\’t waste your time with the manual, that\’s just a summary of the laws and practical advice; it\’s not the actual statutes on the book. Look at the actual statutes. Or if you don\’t want to do that, read today\’s Oregonian, front page. Even they got the law right on that point: \”Bike have exclusive right of way when they\’re in a bike lane– even when a car is turning right.\”

    Now, KWH, if I may add some commentary without you feeling attacked, because I don\’t want to make a personal attack here, it\’s drivers like you, who THINK they know the law, but don\’t, who are one of the greatest hazards on the road, because what you think you know is the complete opposite of the law. And, in my opinion, if one doesn\’t know the laws regarding the operation of your vehicle, one has no business operating the vehicle. Somebody could die as a result of a mistaken belief about what one thinks one knows.


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  • rixtir July 11, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    And if I may make an addendum, my most recent encounter with a driver who thinks he knows the law, but doesn\’t, was with some clown who nearly ran me down while I was crossing in a crosswalk (anybody want to guess who has the right of way when a pedestrian is in the crosswalk?), because, in his opinion, it wasn\’t a crosswalk, because there were no lines painted on the road, and therefore, in his mistaken understanding of the law, that gave him the right of way over me.

    So I\’ll say it again: If one is licensed to operate a vehicle, and one doesn\’t know the laws regarding the operation of one\’s vehicle, one really has no business operating the vehicle.

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  • Alain July 11, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    While cars may be perceived as a \”necessary evil\”, they are in no way benign. The issue of our carbon footprint is trying to bring this fact into our consciousness, but even with alternative fuels, the car remains a 2 ton metal object that is propelled through space by its operator, and being humans we make mistakes in the course of operation. The current laws, do little to protect those who ride bikes, and I have experienced this first hand having been the victim of two hit and run incidents on my bicycle. Neither the police nor the lawyers could do anything for me. This current news article has definitely been blown out of proportion given the state of cycling in the city. That supposed 6% figure quoted on MSNBC the other night is nothing compared to the other 94% in cars or on buses, both forms of transit that mutilate human flesh. Before we act like there\’s some level playing field and that every citizen had better \”play fair, and abide by the laws\”, let\’s take a close look at the realities of driving, rather have our vision clouded by the mythology of the automobile. Though more are taking to the road by bike, this has more to do with the personal cost of driving, and less to do with a moral/health imperative to ride a bike. Law or no law, cars are killers, that\’s a 2 ton fact. Drivers can take a 2 ton swing at a cyclist whether conscious of it our not. We need more bike blvds, more dedicated bike paths. Sharing the road will always result in fatalities for cyclists. The road cannot be shared without some percentage of fatal car-bike accidents. Do any of the cyclists who get killed get front page on the Oregonian?

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  • kwh July 11, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    rixtir #342

    Show Me the statute and read my previous post

    July 10th, 2008 19:31

    SkidMark, you got it all wrong whats a right hook? Oh that\’s a car making a legal right turn when a bike creeps up to the corner and and puts themselves in harms way and then blames the motorist.

    This is typical bike activist attitude. The typical \”its not my fault, those bad motorist just wont share the road and watch out for us while we disregard the rules and do stupid things that put could could kill me.

    get off your holier than thou high horses and learn how to ride \”safe\” like I did when I used to commute 25 miles a day on some of the busiest streets in portland and gresham before there were bike paths and idiots using them wrongly. (like riding on the wrong side of the road)

    I have personally witnessed more bikes running traffic lights than I have witnessed cars running red lights.

    I\’ll share the road will you

    Bike idiocy is a Portland thing. I have lived in many other cities and I never had any issues with bikes like I\’ve experienced in portland


    and yes you are attacking in a personal sanctimoniously holier than thou way, I rest my case, because you just proved it.

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  • rixtir July 11, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    KWH, if I was attacking you personally, I would have made it plain. That\’s why I made a disclaimer that I was not trying to attack you. I\’m sorry that you felt attacked.

    I\’m speaking *in general* about drivers. If they don\’t know the law, they shouldn\’t be driving, because they are running the risk of killing somebody with their mistaken understanding of the law. That\’s not \”sanctimony,\” it\’s common sense, just like stopping at traffic lights is common sense.

    I\’ll get you a link later. In the meantime, read page one of the Oregonian, they summarized the law correctly.

    I\’m sorry you felt attacked.

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  • rixtir July 11, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    Oh, and although you asked SkidMArk I\’ll answer: A right hook is when a car makes a right turn against a cyclist when the cyclist has the right of way.

    The fact that you think a right hook is a \”legal turn\” indicates to me that you are not qualified to operate a motor vehicle. And no, that\’s not a personal attack, it\’s just a an application of my stated opinion that drivers who don\’t know the law shouldn\’t be driving– and you just indicated that you don\’t know the law. Nothing personal, just a fact.

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  • kwh July 11, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    Ive seen some pretty dumb Pedestrians also I stop at a crosswalk look both ways and only step into the road when I am reasonably certain that the vehicle operator has seen me and is stopping (you know the way your mom taught you)then I cross the road. Kinda the same way I used to ride my bike when I used it for commuting.

    better to be humble and alive than righteous and dead.

    Most of the motorist with which I had close encounters were very apologetic and I realized that they just didnt see me so I learned to ride SAFE and Defensively but not righteously.

    ride safe and cross safe too

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  • kwh July 11, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    \”it\’s just a an application of my stated opinion\”

    and your twisted logic. Since I still have a Drivers License apparently the State of Oregon disagrees with you

    Look Since I used to Commute on bike and I know how it feels I make every effort to watch out for cyclist and give them lots of room and since I work on Pill Hill I see lots off lawbreaking cyclist and I now understand why cyclist are not embraced by the general motoring public.

    I never had any issues when I lived in the Bay Area I also remember an incident where a large group of cyclist (20 or 30) all stood in the middle of the road eating their lunchs at Lolo Pass on Mt Hood, while we had to weave through them at 1 mile per hour because none of them would even step out of the way or off the road to let us get through on a two lane road then they gave us dirty looks as we threaded the needle. That was one of my first welcome back to Oregon events. This really made me wonder what happened in portland and made me realize what the attitudes of the local cyclists

    Ride Safe

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  • rixtir July 11, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    Are you claiming that the state (any state, take your pick) only grants driver\’s licenses to people who know all of the laws regarding the operation of a motor vehicle? Or do you think it\’s more like the state dispenses driver\’s licenses to almost anybody, based on passing a pretty simple test?

    Anyway, here\’s the statute you asked for:

    811.050 Failure to yield to rider on bicycle lane; penalty. (1) A person commits the offense of failure of a motor vehicle operator to yield to a rider on a bicycle lane if the person is operating a motor vehicle and the person does not yield the right of way to a person operating a bicycle, electric assisted bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, moped, motor assisted scooter or motorized wheelchair upon a bicycle lane.

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  • encephalopath July 11, 2008 at 8:26 pm


    I agree that perhaps you should go back to riding your bike and leave your car in your garage until you figure out what your responsibilities are as a motorist.

    The problem here isn\’t that you\’re ignorant about certain traffic laws, but that you are so belligerently ignorant about them. You\’re not just wrong. You\’re totally and completely 180 degrees wrong, and yet you keep trying to argue in defense of your self assuredly wrong opinion. That\’s scary.

    It\’s not that hard to figure out. Do a little research, figure out what the hell is going on and stop trying to say that because you used to commute on a bicycle, your opinion is golden and unassailable.

    ORS 811.415 applies to passing on the right when there is no bike lane.

    ORS 811.050 gives bicycles almost uncontested right of way in bike lanes, and that extends through intersections. It pretty much says that motorists can cross over bike lanes as long as they don’t interfere with bicycle traffic.

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  • Grizzer July 11, 2008 at 9:21 pm

    This incident is only worthy of a ridiculously large and sinisterly depicted photo of a bike on the front page (Does anybody even need to read the article to know where its going?) because of an obvious propaganda slant.

    There\’s no apparent justification for the cyclists supposed actions. But, with a metro population of over two million, why does one (supposedly) drunk incident get such publicity? Simply put, when violence flows UP the hierarchy (I\’m confident few would suggest the the cycling industry trumps the automotive/oil industry), there is going to be a popular media backlash. I accept that the WWeek or the Mercury are guilty every now and then of flowing propaganda the other direction, but as Kierkegaard said, \”Truth rests with the minority.\”

    When drivers express drunken road rage, the outcome is often fatal. Regardless, the reason every incident of car-on-car violence (automotive accidents) DOESN\’T make headlines is from accidents being so commonplace.

    Another way to put it, is that those way up on the hierarchy are whispering into every good [sic] citizen\’s ear (through media outlets such as The Oregonian), \”There is nothing wrong with driving a car. (Support the industries that line my pockets.) To support any alternatives is not normal, not good, and not American.\”

    In other front page news from The Oregonian, TREES ARE DANGEROUS! (Well, at least when they\’re cut down and written on, they can be!)

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  • Icarus Falling July 11, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    KWH you are wrong.

    Which is an indication of one of the real problems with many, or even most, drivers. They do no know, or understand, the rules of the road past the insufficient rules taught in the drivers test, which is minimal to say the least.

    Cyclists, even those that don\’t drive, seem to have a better grasp of the rules of the road than most drivers.

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  • anaon July 11, 2008 at 9:59 pm

    Grizzer. It looks like there is a dispute to what was written and what actually took place. see #340

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  • Icarus Falling July 11, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    Of course there are problems with cyclists too, in case you thought I was just being biased against cars. The problems with cyclist are just quite a bit lesser than the problems with drivers.

    I like to own German sports cars myself, yet I rarely drive them.

    With all these bikes on the road I am a little too paranoid to drive.

    Oh the huge Manatee!

    By the way, I would like to change this sentence to \”Cyclists, even those that don\’t drive, seem to have a better grasp of the rules of the road than \”many\” drivers.\”

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  • Grizzer July 11, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    Yeah, I know there are going to be two sides. I purposefully interjected \”supposed\” before suggesting whatever the cyclist did. I wasn\’t there, and thus am not even going to try to interpret what happened.

    My comment was directed in disgust at the ridiculousness of The Oregonian\’s propaganda, and why it occurs at all. This publicity is stupid, whether he was a drunken lunatic or not.

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  • Eileen July 11, 2008 at 11:40 pm

    Here\’s the thing, I know for a fact that it\’s not illegal to NOT pass on the right. Whether it\’s legal to do so or not, do so with caution. Realize that bigger vehicles might not see you. Have some respect for the dangers of the road and quit trying to be right. Haven\’t you all learned anything from events of the past year????

    The cars behind you can see you. They have seen you, they are aware of you and they are not the ones who are going to hit you (okay, now I\”m waiting for 50 comments to the contrary). You have no idea if the cars in front of you have noticed you yet and I wouldn\’t try to second-guess that in the name of self-righteousness.

    And you know what, I know the bike lane is there, and I am exceedingly cautious out of extreme anxiety about killing or even hurting someone. But it just isn\’t totally automatic for me to look BEHIND me when turning right. I check my mirrors, but you could be in my blind spot. Sometimes after I make the turn, I remember the bike lane and my heart drops thinking of the person I didn\’t kill because thankfully they weren\’t there. It\’s really NOT natural to have to look BEHIND to make a right turn. I personally think this law shoudl be changed for the protection of cyclists and peace of mind of motorists.

    In my opinion, (and the law may or may not agree with me, I am in opinion-land aka my ideal world right now) the bike lane should not be considered separate from the car lane. I mean, when in traffic, do you ever see a lane that goes straight to the right of a lane that turns right????? With car lanes? Not ever folks. Why? Because that would be stupid wouldn\’t it? Hah, we would quickly fire the transportation engineer who designed that intersection. But with bike lanes, where the vehicles are particularly vulnerable, we seem to think this plan makes sense? Am I the only one who can see the inanity here?

    It\’s funny because this is the second time this week that I was wrong about my memory of the driver\’s manual (believe it or not, I re-read it during a long wait at the dmv a few months ago) and my belief was stricter than the actual law. I think this is because the way my brain retains information is through logic. If something doesn\’t make sense to me, I quickly forget it. I thought you weren\’t allowed to turn left on double yellow lines. And I still don\’t think it\’s a good idea unless you are on a long country road and there\’s no other option.

    My long-winded point? It doesn\’t matter if it\’s legal, still not smart.

    And blowing stop signs? Hah, still not legal. I can\’t believe the hot air you all expend trying to defend the guy who blew a stop sign.

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  • rixtir July 12, 2008 at 12:08 am

    Eileen, in your deal world, exactly how would you put bikes in the same lane as cars, and ALSO not piss off all the drivers who now feel put upon because they have to drive behind a bike who *might* be going a little bit slower than the driver? Realize that many cyclists *want* to be in the same lane as other vehicles, but virtually no drivers want that.

    Of course, there\’s a real-world solution to the problem. They\’re already doing it in Amsterdam and other bicycle-friendly cities. Bicycles have their own lane, with their own signal lights. Cars can\’t turn against the bicycle lane, because they would have to run a red light to do it. And of course, drivers are presumed to be negligent if they collide with a cyclist, so they have some incentives to actually pay attention to the road.

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  • rixtir July 12, 2008 at 12:24 am

    And Eileen, for the record, I stop at every red light and stop sign.

    Now, having said that, yes, you\’re right, it\’s ridiculous the lengths people will go to to excuse their own law-breaking behavior. But you do realize, don\’t you, that you are basically saying that you don\’t care what the yield to bikes law says– that the law is wrong?

    And how about that driver who has the law completely backwards, and describes his right hooks as \”legal turns\”? Instead of reining in your fellow drivers, you\’re enabling them with your rationalization that the law is wrong.

    Don\’t you consider that to be a bit ironic?

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  • Eileen July 12, 2008 at 12:29 am

    Well, what I meant is that the bike lane is still there. It\’s just that the cyclist shouldn\’t think of it as his own personal carpool lane to zoom right on past everyone during heavy traffic. I guess I also come from the perspective of not minding the cyclist in front of me if he has no where else to go.

    The bicycle signal is brilliant. Why are we wasting money on anything else?

    I really do like the idea of completely separate bike facilities. Just this mornign as I was driving up Powell, I thought, how hard would it be to close off all except the major intersections so that cars can only get on and off of powell about every 10 blocks. Then take out the middle lane and put dividers up so that there is an outside lane for bicycles away from the cars. This would be so cheap – just re-work a few intersections and put up some concrete dividers. I know it would piss people off, but honestly, you\’d never be more than five blocks from your destination and for the car traffic, taking out all those stoplights would really speed things up. It seems like it would not be hard to relieve congestion on side streets by creating a system of expressways for cars. But I know, as soon as someone brings it up, it would become this huge, expensive thing and no one would be happy with the concrete dividers. We\’d have to expensively re-build every street and so it will never happen.

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  • Eileen July 12, 2008 at 12:39 am

    Rixtir, for the record, I do follow all the traffic laws and do yield to bikes. I think the law needs to be changed but I\’m not going to just stop following it. I guess if I were a good citizen I\’d start a petition or something. Instead I\’ll appeal to the good citizens on here.

    I think what I\’m trying to do is encourage everyone to realize that a)we have to follow the rules because we live in a community, and if you don\’t follow the rules, things go haywire. b)just because something is legal doesn\’t make it right or safe. c) if something is illegal and you disagree, you should work to change it, not just ignore it.

    So that is today\’s lesson in a nutshell.

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  • Eileen July 12, 2008 at 12:42 am

    Wanted to add. I do think that civil disobedience can be morally justified and is an appropriate reaction to some circumstances. But it is a conscious, planned act and requires accepting the consequences. Blowing a stop sign and then whining about being caught doesn\’t qualify.

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  • rixtir July 12, 2008 at 12:50 am

    Eileen, I completely agree with your last two posts, particularly your observations about living in a community.

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  • rixtir July 12, 2008 at 1:11 am

    And yes, I agree with you, I think separate facilities are the way to go.

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  • Caroline July 12, 2008 at 7:25 am

    Time to close the comments!

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  • Jaye July 12, 2008 at 8:57 am

    Sure, bicyclists can be frustrating, but you know what…so can drivers! We all need to do our part to share the road. Car drivers need to quit thinking that they own the road. Bicyclists need to use their heads follow the same rules as everyone else.

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  • JNM July 12, 2008 at 11:23 am

    Skidmark and rixtir… Ride Safe.

    I will watch out for you and every other cyclist, always. As a safe and courteous driver I care less about exercising a right of way than making sure that I drive safely, defensively, obsevantly and we all get home alive and unhurt.

    There is more in the statutes about right turns and overtaking a vehichle. You quoted the right code section when you have a bike lane (unfortunately there aren\’t enough in Portland and the rest of Oregon), but not on roads and at intersecions where none have been designated.

    811.415 Unsafe passing on right; penalty.
    (1) A person commits the offense of unsafe passing on the right if the person: (a) Drives a vehicle to overtake and pass upon the right of another vehicle at any time not permitted
    under this section.
    (2) For purposes of this section, a person may drive a vehicle to overtake and pass upon the right of another
    vehicle under any of the following circumstances:
    (c) Overtaking and passing upon the right is permitted if the overtaking vehicle is a bicycle that may safely make the passage under the existing conditions.
    (3) The offense described in this section, unsafe passing on the right, is a Class B traffic violation.

    Simply put, when someone is making a right run (hopefully they signal) and there is no bike lane and you are overtaking traffic the onus is on you to avoid a collision.

    I will still look behind me, in my mirror and by turning around when I make my turn especially when I am downtown. I don\’t care if you blow by me in violation of the law even if I have the right of way. I would a lot if you were hurt by me even if you were in the wrong.

    Passing on the right is always somewhat dangerous and requires extra caution, even when it is legal, whether you are driving car, bike or truck.

    I have a spotless driving record for the last 30 years and certainly want to keepit that way. Help me keep it that way by watching out for me like I watch out for you.

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  • 007 July 12, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    Beefa #205, interesting comments about Yates, (doesn\’t surprise me because I had guessed he was the type to start fights), and also this:

    By the way, my friend saw that it was a man that got out Colins car and \”cold cocked\” the other douchbag cyclist. Not some random passerby.

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  • DY July 12, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    I\’ve known Colin for over twenty years. I\’ve ridden and raced with him on numerous occasions. IMHO what he said about being a bicycle is an understatement. He\’s manged bike shops mechaniced for Cycle Oregon more than acouple years and commutes by bike year around. I believe he does have a clue about what is stupid and reckless behavior for a cyclist. I also find so out of character for him to be accused by some of harassing a cyclist as to be laughable.
    I myself commute by bike daily and see idiotic/dangerous behavior by both cyclists and motorists. Point is, nobody has the right to cast the first stone, we\’re all guilty of stupid actions one time or another.

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  • rixtir July 12, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    JNM, as I said above, I don\’t assume that I\’ve been seen, and I don\’t assume that drivers are operating their vehicles lawfully. I ride the way you drive– with caution.

    I appreciate that you take your responsibilities as a motorist seriously, and really, that\’s all any of us ask. If everybody, driver and cyclist alike, operated with caution, and extended common courtesies to others on the road, it would make for a safer and more pleasant road environment for everybody.

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  • kwh July 12, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    July 11th, 2008 20:26

    here\’s the law on passing on the right

    811.415 Unsafe passing on right; penalty. (1) A person commits the offense of unsafe passing on the right if the person:

    (a) Drives a vehicle to overtake and pass upon the right of another vehicle at any time not permitted under this section.

    (b) Drives a vehicle to overtake and pass upon the right of another vehicle at any time by driving off the paved portion of the highway.

    (2) For purposes of this section, a person may drive a vehicle to overtake and pass upon the right of another vehicle under any of the following circumstances:

    (a) Overtaking and passing upon the right is permitted if:

    (A) The overtaken vehicle is making or the driver has signaled an intention to make a left turn;

    (B) The paved portion of the highway is of sufficient width to allow two or more lanes of vehicles to proceed lawfully in the same direction as the overtaking vehicle; and

    (C) The roadway ahead of the overtaking vehicle is unobstructed for a sufficient distance to permit passage by the overtaking vehicle to be made in safety.

    (b) Overtaking and passing upon the right is permitted if the overtaken vehicle is proceeding along a roadway in the left lane of two or more clearly marked lanes allocated exclusively to vehicular traffic moving in the same direction as the overtaking driver.

    (c) Overtaking and passing upon the right is permitted if the overtaking vehicle is a bicycle that may safely make the passage under the existing conditions.

    (3) The offense described in this section, unsafe passing on the right, is a Class B traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §638; 1987 c.158 §169; 2005 c.316 §1]

    The key words \”safely make the passage under the existing conditions.\” seems to me its up to the bike to be responsible

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  • JNM July 12, 2008 at 12:39 pm


    Thanks. That all I wanted to hear. With two of us in agrement… we have started a movement(I\’m an old happy hippy from the sixty\’s.. that\’s how we stopped a war).

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  • SkidMark July 12, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    So what you are trying to say is the law permits you to cut off cyclists going straight when you are turning right?

    I have better things to do (like ride my bike) than dig through ORS but please keep digging until you find that is is indeed against the law to cross the path of a cyclist going straight, bike lane or not. According to you Tracy Sparling and Brett Jarolimek were both at fault when they got run over by trucks. That is a pretty radical stance to take here, and not one you would want to take in a room full of cyclists.

    Sorry but \”I didn\’t see him\” is never an excuse, ever. It is always an admission of negligence.

    And that really is the key to all this, all this internet trash talking, and the incident that sparked it. If you open your mouth in the real world, you should be prepared to get slapped.

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  • Icarus Falling July 12, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    I accidentally hurt a salamander when I was hoeing the trails in Rickreall.

    Honestly, I didn\’t see him.

    But it was still my fault. Not seeing him was no excuse. I obviously wasn\’t looking, \’cause he was there alright.

    Jaiden put him in the pond, I am sure he is alright.

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  • JNM July 12, 2008 at 2:25 pm


    That is indeed what the law says and all of us need to be knowlegeble of it to avoid hurting ourselves and others. You included. On the contrary, my point is that even with the law on one\’s side one must make sure that they are aware of those around them and defer to safety rather than being right. I don\’t cut off bicycles even when I have the right of way.

    I did not need to dig through the ORS\’s because I know the law in this area already, I made it a point to know for my safety as well as others. I wish every one did.

    As for Tracy Sparling and Brett Jarolimek they both had a bike lane, they both had the right of way, they both died tragically. The first time I saw the \”ghost bike\” on Burnside I cried. I say a prayer everytime I go by there and where Brett died on Interstate. There is no way I am saying they were at fault.

    I do not make excuses. I make it my point to be knowlegeble and observant.

    I don\’t think anyone would consider what I said was \”trash talking.\”

    When I have seen injustice, I have fought for justice. Sure you run the risk of being slapped and I have taken that risk. I will again.

    I think the key here is not necessarily what happens when opening ones mouth, but to open minds in the real world with knowlege…

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  • JimL July 12, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    I hate to add fuel to this fire, since both the biker and the driver seem like idiots, but as a WALKER may I call attention to the rudeness of some bikers. The rule on the Sellwood Bridge–which I cross both ways 3-4 days a week– for bikers to dismount and walk their bikes, not shout out, \”Move to your right!\” when approaching someone from behind on the walkway.

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  • Anonymous July 12, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    \”I am contacted frequently by people on bikes who are the victims of road rage and near-misses.\”

    Us…\”vehicle drivers\” have on one to call when faced with rude inconsiderate or road rules violating bicyclists.

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  • Dan Goldwater July 12, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    In response to similar incidents (including actual collisions) here in SF Bay area, I wrote the following about a year ago:

    \”I think nearly all people would feel quite uncomfortable to have a
    gun pointed at them. i think it is the realization that with a single
    thought and twitch of their finger the gun-pointing person can kill
    you. just a single thought and a twitch of a finger! you can only hope
    that this person pointing a gun at you is a rational, responsible
    person with control over their thoughts and actions. most people i
    meet in my day to day life seem to be calm, rational and responsible
    most of the time. 99% of the time even. of course not everyone is so
    collected, we all know people that are high strung. and we also know
    that even responsible people have a bad day sometimes. they overslept,
    the dog peed their shoes, the traffic was a mess, their boss yelled at
    them. then they are pointing a gun at you – how well do you trust the
    high strung woman after she just got mud on her dress and people
    laughed? that teenager that just found out his girlfriend was cheating
    and everyone knew it? maybe for just a moment he loses it and twitches
    his finger? i\’m sure they will both be very sorry after they calm

    if you are thinking that this has little bearing on the world around
    you, think again. every single day – often for half an hour or more –
    millions of americans are pointing deadly weapons directly at unarmed
    people all around them. with just a momentary loss of calm thinking
    and an effortless twitch of the wrist or the ankle, these drivers kill
    a pedestrian or cyclist on our streets. the pedestrian or cyclist
    stands no better chance against a motor vehicle than they would a
    handgun. worse even! a motor vehicle has a 7 foot wide bullet so you
    can\’t miss the target.

    the burden of responsibility for wielding a deadly weapon normally
    falls on the wielder. if you have a few beers and some guy makes a
    pass at your girl and you shoot him, you are still responsible. and if
    you are someone that has trouble keeping yourself under control, you
    shouldn\’t be allowed to point a deadly weapon, and perhaps it might
    fall on other people to help identify you as someone that can\’t be
    trusted with a deadly weapon and make sure you can\’t have one. i think
    most people understand this makes good sense for both guns and cars.

    sometimes accidents happen. if you walk into a room and you see an
    unarmed person dead or injured on the floor and another person holding
    a gun, you know where to start asking questions. you also know that
    even if the person on the floor was a hotheaded fool that made a pass
    at the other guy\’s girl, it doesn\’t matter. the hothead with a deadly
    weapon is a danger to us all. the hothead without one is just a
    hothead. of course in close quarters a person without a handgun still
    could be dangerous. but a pedestrian and a cyclist are nearly
    incapable of posing a danger to a motorist encased in a 3000 pound
    armored box. they couldn\’t hurt a hair on the motorist\’s head except
    in the most outlandish scenario. like if they had a handgun.

    so when you happen upon an intersection and you see a cyclist on the
    ground and a car next to them, you know where to start asking
    questions. you know that the driver is operating a deadly weapon and
    the cyclist or pedestrian is totally unarmed. and you know that it is
    a very different thing to be a hothead pointing a deadly weapon, or to
    just be a hothead. very very different. the life of every cyclist and
    pedestrian can be ended by the slightest whim of a hotheaded driver. a
    hotheaded cyclist or pedestrian is no more than nuisance.

    sadly, just today in berkeley, and a month ago in oakland, the police
    didn\’t see it that way. neither did the media. unarmed cyclists were
    INTENTIONALLY struck by motor vehicles, and then blamed for it.
    hotheads piloting deadly weapons – who had intentionally struck or
    attempted to strike cyclists in full view of dozens of people – were
    portrayed as victims. do you want to be crossing the street with
    groceries and your child in front of that hotheaded driver after they
    just had a bad day? i don\’t. I WANT THAT DRIVER OFF THE STREET.

    perhaps you are thinking that a cyclist or pedestrian could be at
    fault for getting in the way of a car. sure, traffic accidents happen
    a lot and any of the parties might be at fault, and this is very
    tragic for all involved. i\’m not complaining about the driver who
    accidentally kills a pedestrian any more than i\’m complaining about
    the 18-wheeler that lost control and crushed a car. but there were
    multiple incidents here in the last month, and i have personally
    witnessed others in the past, in which enraged motorists intentionally
    used their vehicles as deadly weapons against unarmed cyclists. those
    motorists pose a danger to us all, and they must be brought to

    Dan Goldwater

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  • SkidMark July 12, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    Sorry, I refuse to believe that I am supposed to yield to a car that is taking a right if I am going straight. I have never heard this before and in my experience out on the road that is not how the majority of motor vehicles behave. It is only the occasional a$$hole who cuts you off and endangers your life.

    Hopefully you don\’t drive a car, so you won\’t sail into some cyclist who is going straight because you taking a right turn in your car at that precise moment is so much more important than a cyclist\’s life.

    This is why cyclists are so up-at-arms, because you people in your damn cars think your sense of entitlement on the road extends all the way to killing us.

    That\’s why when I ride, I just assume every one of you idiots isn\’t paying attention or doesn\’t even care about my safety. It\’s much safer that way.

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  • Hillsons July 12, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    Torfinn I think you misunderstood me, I\’m not rooting for the drunk.

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  • knappster July 12, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    Jonathan, thank you for the excellent commentary, as usual.  The point you made about Ben Ramsdell in your followup commentary was particularly astute.

    You also wrote this:

    \”I hope someday everyone begins to understand that the way we choose to move around the city does not define who we are.\”


    How we choose to move certainly does partially define who we are.  It is a significant part of how we spend the time of our lives.  It also determines – to a very large degree – the impact we choose to have on our environment.  Among those impacts, our choice of mobility determines our energy consumption, our demand for social infrastructure, and our demand for healthcare.

    I know that you are familiar with the extensive arguments that favor bicycling over motor vehicle use.  It makes no sense to claim that this critical choice is no reflection on the character of those who make the choice.  In fact, our entire lives are products of the choices we make.

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  • Max Proctor July 13, 2008 at 8:34 am

    Both motorized and human-powered transportation can coexist but not under this system. And in today\’s energy situation bicycles need inclusion.
    Personally I would no more ride a peddle bike on public streets than I would ride a skateboard to work. Just not a risk I\’ll take for so little benefit. I speak from experience because I used to. I lived in NW Portland, rode a bike downtown to work a couple times a week. I certainly did not ride down Burnside. I wove around the warehouses and back streets, for me the rides were for exercise and relaxation. Even with my careful route and unassertive riding, I still have dozens of tales of near misses and one bone-breaking crash.
    If the mix is to work Bicycle Operators need
    1. a operators permit – they need to know the rules and they need something to be taken away for violations. Bike riding is a privilege granted by the state just like auto driving. You\’ve got a right to walk, beyond that it\’s a privilege.
    2. Minimum equipment – we already have the brake law – I say TURN SIGNALS, Brake light, Head Lamp, there\’s plenty of LED-type lights that are bright and draw little power. A rechargeable battery pack or small generator to power
    3. Insurance – Bikes cause damage too
    4. Registration and a license plate – it\’s identification and taxation all in one simple payment

    You want the privilege of riding on the state\’s road you pay to play and you play by the rules

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  • JNM July 13, 2008 at 9:48 am


    Oh my.

    I guess you don\’t get it and probably won\’t. I\’m not against you.

    You \”refuse to believe that I am [you are] supposed to yield to a car that is taking a right if I am [you are] going straight. I have never heard this before…\”

    You really might want to consider reading the rules of the road rather than relying on what you \”heard\” from clearly unreliable sources.

    Time to sign off of this blog.

    I \”refuse\” to match wits with an unarmed person. Beam me up Scotty…

    To rixtir, I hope to run into you downtown sometime… maybe over a beer, I\’ll buy.

    To everyone; drive safely and ride safely, watch out for the other guy…. not everyone will.

    …What is the difference between genius and stupidity?

    Genius has limits.


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  • Duncan July 13, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    As to safe passing on the right- if more drivers learn to use their turn signals, and quit racing to overtake bikes to make a right turn, the world would be a safer place.

    Also more bikes should take the lane at intersections when saftey requires it that would help too.

    And as to the whole incident, sounds like the cyclist had a bad day and took it out on the wrong guy. There is nothing that happened that justifies the dudes behavior.

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  • knappster July 13, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    Max, if you think that riding a bicycle is a privilege, then what\’s your view of walking?  Both are forms of human-powered transit.  As Ivan Illich so eloquently explained, mobility with human power is fundamentally different than transport in motor vehicles.

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  • jamie July 14, 2008 at 9:35 am

    Rules for cars and bikes in portland:
    1. Keep your comments to yourself. I roll through lights and stop signs, deal with it.
    2. If you comment, prepare to deal with me. I don\’t give an \’F\’ about the bike community. I\’m not a part of the community I\’m enviro-terrorist who believes our addiction to oil will be our country\’s downfall. Which brings us to
    2b. if you are in a car and you criticize my riding, at minimum we\’ll have words, but more than likely I\’ll take you to task for opening your mouth about how I ride.
    3. Be prepared to scrap when you confront me.
    4. I carry a blade for a reason. Car or bike, if you open your mouth and we can\’t settle it with our hands, we\’ll elevate it as far as necessary.
    5. People like to \”express their opinion\” but rarely have the balls to back up their words.

    I care a great deal about my beliefs and I\’ll go to war to support them. You? Next time think twice about how important it is to comment on my riding.

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  • jami July 14, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    jamie with an \”e\”, don\’t take words so much to heart. jerks in cars who call us out on trivia are just jerks in cars. their petty lives are their punishment.

    now, i don\’t think blowing a stop light across a busy street is trivia. but thinking that you\’re gonna change someone on a bike by being nasty to them is misguided.

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  • Jamie July 14, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    More rules

    6. I\’m into plushies
    7. I have a 3\” blade. If you know what I mean.
    8. I wet myself the last time I talked to a cop.

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  • Scared July 14, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    I\’m not going to weigh in on all this, as I think it\’s much less about bike vs. car than it is about drinking and driving and anger management issues.

    However, sadly, all this anger makes me less likely to get on my bike and more likely to drive. Angry people are everywhere, and at least in my car I can roll up the windows and lock the doors. On my bike I\’m a sitting duck.

    On the positive side, every time I encounter a bicyclist while driving I slow to a snail\’s pace and don\’t take any chances. I might be holding up the traffic behind me, but I\’m unlikely to land as the lead story in the media, either!

    The whole thing is entirely too volatile. I\’ll never in a million years stick my head out the window and correct a bicyclist\’s road rules. It\’s simply too dangerous!

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  • Avoid vehicle rage: Walk There! July 14, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    […] last week we had the bicyclist who went crazy on a motorist for telling him he he ought to follow traffic […]

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  • driver July 14, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    Ya know, I drive and ride but if you break the law expect to hear about it… Portlanders are tired of the bike terrorists taking over. If a guy came swinging at me with a bike, he might expect an elevated use of force.

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  • Forseti July 14, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    \”…the bike terrorists…\”

    Bwahhh, ha, ha!! That\’s rich, man! Tell us, why do you hate freedom so much?

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  • jami July 14, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    driver, you can probably get your \”terror\” of people riding on two unmotorized wheels fixed.

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  • Dave Allen July 14, 2008 at 8:40 pm
  • knappster July 14, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    KGW covered the story here – which included a telephone interview with Colin Yates.

    Here\’s a partial transcript:


    The clash involved long-time bicycle advocate Colin
    Yates, seen here in a November interview.  According to
    Yates, he was driving with his family when a cyclist
    nearly collided with their Subaru.

    \”The cyclist was riding in a very erratic manner –
    passing cars on the left, running red lights, and
    cutting in and out of traffic.\”

    Yates says he yelled at the cyclist, who responded.

    \”He raised the bike, used the bike as a weapon.\”

    Yates says the cyclist smashed him with the bike and
    then slammed it on to his car.


    I\’m wondering why Colin Yates is called a \”bicycle advocate\”.  What does that mean?  He advocates that people buy things at the bicycle shop where he works?

    It seems to me that someone who is a \”bicycle advocate\” would understand that a bicyclist is PART OF THE TRAFFIC – and, therefore, cannot be \”cutting in and out of traffic.\”

    Yates tells the news media that McAtee was \”running red LIGHTS\” (plural).  But the Oregonian reported that Yates made that observation only ONCE.

    Would Yates prefer that McAtee pass cars on the RIGHT?

    With friends and \”advocates\” like Colin Yates, who needs enemies?

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  • Fedup July 15, 2008 at 9:13 am

    I\’d say the post quoted below pretty much sums up why people realize the eco-terrorists and cycling-terrorist need to be locked up.

    There arguments are so weak they always want to elevate to shouting then brawling, and in this idiots case apparently stabbing and worse.

    July 14th, 2008 09:35 386Rules for cars and bikes in portland:
    1. Keep your comments to yourself. I roll through lights and stop signs, deal with it.
    2. If you comment, prepare to deal with me. I don\’t give an \’F\’ about the bike community. I\’m not a part of the community I\’m enviro-terrorist who believes our addiction to oil will be our country\’s downfall. Which brings us to
    2b. if you are in a car and you criticize my riding, at minimum we\’ll have words, but more than likely I\’ll take you to task for opening your mouth about how I ride.
    3. Be prepared to scrap when you confront me.
    4. I carry a blade for a reason. Car or bike, if you open your mouth and we can\’t settle it with our hands, we\’ll elevate it as far as necessary.
    5. People like to \”express their opinion\” but rarely have the balls to back up their words.

    I care a great deal about my beliefs and I\’ll go to war to support them. You? Next time think twice about how important it is to comment on my riding.

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  • Forseti July 15, 2008 at 9:55 am


    Keep talking sh!t like this and soon the word \”terrorist\” will be totally meaningless. You disgust me.

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  • stupidgumby July 15, 2008 at 10:20 am

    3 weeks ago I\’m at a 4 way stop, turning left… I start my turn and a guy on a bike passes the car opposite me on it\’s right, and stands up and stomps on his pedals to get through the intersection without stopping… I am turning left, and turn into his path. He swerves, and then goes down hard. I stop and get out to see if he\’s o.k. and…. HE\’S pissed at ME!

    So Jamie… here ya go.

    1. You decide to break the law and roll through stop lights and signs, I might run you over… DEAL WITH IT.

    2. Enviro-terrorist?!? So our \”addiction to oil\” means you get to be jerk?

    3, 4, and 5… Don\’t bring a knife to a gunfight. One day you will piss off the wrong person and end up dead.

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  • JQ July 15, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    There are two types of Bicycle Communities in Portland: The Normal and the Abnormal.

    The incident is an example of what happens when an abnormal biker encounters and upset motorist. The Normal biker might ride on and either ignore or recognize what is being told. An abnormal biker retaliates with the \”us vs. them\” mentality strong in mind.

    In S.E. Portland there are a large number of abnormal biker who see being a biker as a badge of honor similar to that of the Hell\’s Angel\’s. They think they are tough and reject laws because they feel that it placates to the rest of society that they clearly do not agree with. I have encountered the A-holes and know all too well there mentality.

    As a bike rider who has been in an accident due to a car on multiple occasions (once my fault, once theirs) I know how important it is that we are all on the same page on the road. But the actions by this moron and his brethren will only fuel the hatred that already exist towards the Bicycle Community as a whole.

    As a Community I think we all should chastise these abnormal bikers any time they break a law. Let them know that there actions are not excepted and their mentality needs to change.

    The only way we can protect ourselves is to police our own. I believe we are all at fault for this incident. This should open our eyes and we must all take responsibility.

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  • Forseti July 15, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    I am not at fault for this incident JQ. I reject any attempt to give me any responsibility. I ride a bike and I am not part of your fictitious \”community.\” Your stereotypes are ridiculous.

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  • JQ July 15, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    To jamie:

    \”2b. if you are in a car and you criticize my riding, at minimum we\’ll have words, but more than likely I\’ll take you to task for opening your mouth about how I ride.
    3. Be prepared to scrap when you confront me.
    4. I carry a blade for a reason. Car or bike, if you open your mouth and we can\’t settle it with our hands, we\’ll elevate it as far as necessary.\”

    You are the abnormal biker that I am talking about. You talk tough as nails but I could walk up to you and kick the living hell out of you! You carry a blade but can you use it? I would snatch that blade right out of your hands and you would be running like a little b****.

    Honestly, I have reached my boiling point with you punks. Anytime I see one of you d***s pulling some BS I am going to call you out and wait for you to try something. 10 out of 10 times you wait for one of you retarded punk brethren to come by for help before you even talk. You sicken me. Eco-terrorist my ass. You\’re just a terrorist.

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  • JQ July 15, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    Forseti –

    you don\’t have to take responsibility. Just take a stand. When a car hits a biker it is easy to attack the so called enemy, but it is much more difficult to call out one of your own.

    Keep disassociating yourself all you want. But multiple times in here we have been called a \”Community\” that means that everyone who rides a bike is part of it. And no matter how you view yourself, everyone on the outside looking in sees us as all the same.

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  • rixtir July 15, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    \”One day you will piss off the wrong person and end up dead.\”

    With any luck for the community he doesn\’t give an F about, sooner rather than later.

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  • Greg July 15, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    What\’s really unfortunate about all of this really boils down to some serious training breakdown.

    The problem with being on a bike and blowing a light is that you don\’t have airbags and 2000 lbs of steel to protect you from the vehicle entering the intersection at the same time. You\’re likely going to end up as a chalk mark on the asphalt.

    Years of experience and training go into learning how to drive, but the same isn\’t true for bicyclists. Anyone can get on a bike and ride. It\’s part of what makes it so easily accessible to anyone.

    I suspect the answer to most of the rage between those behind the wheel and those behind the handlebars is a clear understanding of the rules on both sides. Right now, I think a lot of us don\’t know what the rules are.

    My stance is when I\’m on a bicycle, I accept that I\’m a slow moving target. I can very easily be run over by a motor vehicle. Consequently, I let the cars go by and stay as much out of their way as possible. This means taking side streets a lot of the time or pulling to the side to let the vehicles pass.

    Now, I don\’t expect everyone to agree with me and do-as-I-do. I do expect the state government to update the laws and perhaps there is a licensing/training requirement that cyclists have to go through to ride on major streets. It should also be required that all motor vehicle drivers receive an updated lesson as well. I didn\’t say it was easy. Nothing ever is.

    For now, I\’ll continue to assume that I\’m two seconds and six inches from being squished under someone\’s car. After all, self preservation trumps making a point in my book.

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  • Cal July 15, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    I say we handle these situation using the ancient methods of duel. In this case, chicken. The winner saves his reputation and family name, the loser gets a nice plot at the local bike park.

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  • Japes July 15, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    Simple. If a car were travelling at half or less the speed limit, they would be breaking the law. If a bike is doing the same by travelling that slow and yet expecting roadway use as much as a car (therefore disrupting traffic flow and provoking others) they should ticketed and removed.
    This is ony fair.

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  • rixtir July 15, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    Bikes are traffic.

    They were traffic before cars were here, they\’re traffic now, and they\’ll still be traffic when cars are gone.

    Get used to it.

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  • salaud July 16, 2008 at 3:55 am

    See my post about this here

    called \”Oil Drunk whOregonian Clubs Cyclist with Hatchet\”

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  • Ray July 17, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    I think it\’s great when I see someone using a bike to get around instead of a car. Good for them.

    What bothers me are the people that are clearly training, exercising, etc. Not all of them. Just the ones that ride on our narrow hilly roads where there is hardly room for cars let alone bicycles. That is annoying. What pisses me off is when they think they\’re to damned important to follow the rules of the road. It is inconvenient for me to stop at signs and lights while in a car, it takes extra time and fuel, but I do it every single time. Why? Because it is the law and it\’s safer for me and everyone else.

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  • steve July 18, 2008 at 9:40 am

    It\’s not just \”good for them\” when you see others getting around by car. It\’s good for you too — each bike you see is one fewer car.

    As for as the room on the road in your neck of the woods, this kind of comment always amazes me. Aren\’t cars several times bigger than bicycles? Why are you so annoyed by not having the room when you\’re taking so much of it? Get over it.

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  • FredLf July 18, 2008 at 10:04 am

    Ray @ 409

    Next time you\’re on a narrow, hilly road, \”stuck\” behind a bike, ask yourself how many cars you\’ve been stuck behind that day? Also, are you sure you know the rules of the road? It is both safer and legal for a cyclist to take the whole lane on a blind corner.

    And really, what\’s the problem with having to wait a few seconds (because that\’s what we\’re talking about here). If you pass 20 bikers and they each cause you to wait 10 seconds, you\’re going to get to your destination only 3+ minutes later. Roughly the same as hitting a couple of red lights. Big whoop.

    But I don\’t think it\’s about the time. It\’s about ego. How DARE those cyclists get in MY way. Trust me, if you find modern life alienating and frustrating, it\’s not because a few cyclists act like jerks on the road. Time to see the big picture and figure out who you should really be pissed off at…

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  • James Mason November 25, 2008 at 1:11 am

    I live in Alaska and just ran across this thread. I’d read about half the posts when I realized that Colin Yates used to work for me at my bike shop in San Francisco. That was in about 1987 or 88. So I can say that 20 years ago Colin was already a long-time bike rider, a guy living a cycling lifestyle. I don’t think he had a car. He was not a hot-head at all.

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  • Pete November 25, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Japes (#406): “If a car were travelling at half or less the speed limit, they would be breaking the law.”

    Which law is this you cite, or is this just your assumption? Familiarize yourself with ORS 811 specifically section 130 on impeding traffic. Speed limits are upper safety limits; some locations post a “minimum speed limit”, but the most important factor a court will use is that the driver is driving the speed he/she deems necessary as safe for the conditions (traffic, weather, lighting, etc). Some states, like California (but not Oregon), have laws requiring that an automobile impeding a minimum number of other vehicles on a one-lane road (5 in CA) pull over at the first safe opportunity to let those others pass.

    Folks, please make sure you really know the rules of the road and the conditions affecting the driver in front of you before generalizing that people are breaking the law. (And if you want to know what cyclists are supposed to adhere to ORS 814 is a good start; it’s all online).

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