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Bike-friendly state senator wounded by accidental gunshot


fixie bill in Salem
Atkinson testifying in support of the Fixed Gear
Brake bill during a hearing in Salem in March 2007.
His shirt reads, “Ride a fixed gear, go to jail.”
(Photo © J. Maus)

Oregon state Senator Jason Atkinson (R-Central Point) — an avid cyclist and a regular supporter of bike-related legislation in Salem — was accidently shot in the knee yesterday evening.

According to a story in the Medford Mail-Tribune, the accident happened when Atkinson began working on a friend’s bike:

“…Atkinson was working on a friend’s bicycle and had to remove a small bag attached to the bike. He dropped the bag and a .38-caliber derringer inside the bag fired. The bullet hit his knee.”

No word yet on why his friend packs a pistol in his pannier.

Atkinson used to be a serious racer.
(Photo courtesy Jason Atkinson)

Atkinson has supported several bike bills in the Oregon legislature over the years. He was a key ally in the effort to revise Oregon’s bicycle equipment law to allow fixed gear bicycles to not have a hand brake, he has supported an idea to allow bicycles to treat some stops signs as yields, and he was the driving political force behind an effort to use state Lottery funds to build velodromes.

Pundits say Atkinson is a “likely candidate” for governor in 2010 (he ran unsuccessfully in 2006) and we’re likely to be hearing more from him as the 2009 legislative session takes shape.

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