Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Tickets follow close call on Ainsworth

Posted by on November 16th, 2008 at 10:23 am

PSU Cycling Club president
Reuben Vyn and Officer Pryce.
(Photos: Peter Welte)

Two members of the PSU Cycling Club got a lot more than they bargained for while riding along NE Ainsworth yesterday.

According to witnesses, Club president Reuben Vyn was riding along with six other members of the club on NE Ainsworth near NE 23rd when a Portland police officer in a patrol car came by “within a foot” of his handlebars. (Ainsworth is a narrow, one-lane, residential street with car parking. The street is a designated bike route, but it’s also notoriously uncomfortable to ride on. See photo below)

In a statement to BikePortland, Vyn claims he was riding “about three feet from a row of parked cars when Officer Pryce passed me, coming within a foot of hitting me.” Vyn recalls that he then “signaled to him (the officer) with a lateral motion of my hand that he should have given me more space.”

Not much space on Ainsworth.

According to Peter Welte, who was also on the ride, that gesture, “apparently pissed the guy (Officer Pryce) off.” The police officer then pulled Vyn over.

At this point, Welte — who was ahead of Vyn when the incident occurred — had doubled-back and was now standing with Vyn, discussing the law with the officer.

Vyn recalls the conversation:

“He proceeded to tell me that I needed to either ride with the flow of traffic or ride closer to the parked cars in order to let other vehicles pass. I replied that if I rode any closer to the cars I would risk getting ‘doored’. He asked if that actually happens, and if that has happened specifically to me. I replied that yes it actually has happened to me.

I further explained that it is my right to ride three feet from parked cars, and that he in fact made a dangerous move to pass me at such a close distance.”

Welte says that the cop “didn’t appreciate our feedback regarding his understanding of the law and looked for anything he could bust on.”

Story continues below


“It is much easier for me to disregard driver ignorance when it is not being displayed by someone in authority.”
— Nathan Sramek

After their discussion, both Vyn and Welte recall that Officer Pryce went back to his patrol car and then returned twenty minutes later with citations for both men. Pryce allegedly told them they were receiving the citations because they, “insisted on doing this the hard way.”

Reuben Vyn was cited for failure to update his address on his driver’s license (ORS 807.560) and for impeding traffic (ORS 811.130). Welte received a ticket as a pedestrian (he had entered the roadway to take pictures) for ‘improper position on a highway’ (ORS 814.070).

When Officer Pryce handed out the tickets, Welte recalls, Vyn asked, “What’s my ticket for? Riding in the street?”, and the officer responded “yes”.

Both Vyn and Welte feel their citations are not warranted and plan to contest them in traffic court.

Ainsworth is a designated bike route, but
the narrow street makes for tricky riding.

Nathan Sramek was also on the ride. He calls Vyn’s citation a “bogus charge” and, wrote in an email that, “What really bothers me about this situation, is not that Rueben and Peter were cited, but the implications events like this hold for the safety of the cycling community in general.”

Sramek calls the incident “disheartening” and he feels that police officers should serve as an example to other motorists. Reflecting on the incident, he wrote that he doesn’t think it’s indicative of the PPB’s attitude toward cyclists in general, but that “It is much easier for me to disregard driver ignorance when it is not being displayed by someone in authority.”

Welte says he and Vyn now plan to research their citations and prepare for their cases, which will be heard in traffic court in December. He also said they are considering filing a formal complaint with the police bureau.

[Editor’s Note: I’ve changed the headline of this story from “Riding on Ainsworth leads to tickets for PSU riders” to “Tickets follow close call on Ainsworth”. I just didn’t like the original headline, so I changed it.]

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

  • tim November 16, 2008 at 10:32 am

    I live a few blocks from Ainsworth/23rd. Riding this area of Ainsworth safely requires ‘taking the lane’ in order to not have just about every motorist pass within a foot of you.

    It’s disheartening to hear about the officer’s attitude, but I’m glad these cyclists aren’t taking this lying down.

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  • Mike November 16, 2008 at 10:34 am

    I have had many cars do the same to me on a daily basis riding down Ainsworth to 24th street, where I live. This is very disheartening, but sadly unsurprising, that officer Price took time out of his shift to make life a little more difficult for Vyn and Welte. Good luck fighting the citations, hopefully Price does not bother to show up to court.

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  • mac November 16, 2008 at 10:54 am

    This IS indicative of the attitude of the PPB as evidenced many times before. Vyn and Welte should hire competent lawyers and I’d be happy to contribute to a defense fund.

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  • wsbob November 16, 2008 at 11:09 am

    Anyone with much driving experience at all should be able to understand that safely traveling a street like this requires more than usual patience and time. If the officer really needed to make time, all he would have had to do was flip on the overhead lights.

    If he had done so, even within the tight constraints of this street, the PSU riders, or most any other riders would likely have made every possible effort to promptly give him the clearance he needed.

    Glad to get the impression that the PSU guys kept a cool head throughout this incident.

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  • ambrown November 16, 2008 at 11:19 am

    The BTA needs to be all over this. This is why I’m a member.

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  • tonyt
    tonyt November 16, 2008 at 11:21 am

    To protect and to serve indeed.

    A jerk with a badge is still a jerk.

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  • Steven M. November 16, 2008 at 11:30 am

    They are thinking of filing a complaint? They definitely should file a complaint. We don’t need more police with overblown ego’s endangering cyclists. We need good police who are looking out for us.

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  • Blair November 16, 2008 at 11:37 am

    This really sucks. A PPB officer also pulled a cyclist over in front of my house about a week ago. The event ended in a warning when me and my neighbors all went outside and shot photos and asked what was going on. The PPB, or at least many rogues inside them, aren’t bike-friendly. I hope Sam Adams will change this.

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  • Jebus November 16, 2008 at 11:54 am

    From what I read here, it is fairly obvious that they should file a complaint…

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  • Rylee November 16, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    Thank you for publishing this story. It needed to be heard. What an absurd situation.

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  • Rich November 16, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    Mike said: “hopefully Price does not bother to show up to court”

    No, that would accomplish nothing. Hopefully he DOES appear and they win.

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  • K'Tesh November 16, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    I have a sneeky feeling that an officer has an agenda here…

    Hopefully the tickets gets tossed, and the officer gets an attitude adjustment (or gets tossed too).

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  • Velo Vanguard November 16, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    No, on the contrary, this *is* typical of the PPB’s attitude toward cyclists in general. I’ve had several PPB officers tell me that it’s perfectly legal for a motorist to pass that close to a cyclist. That’s BS.

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  • Aka November 16, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    I hope that justice prevail and that police learn from this event. The cop could have just said “sorry for riding so close to you” and everything would have been fine….

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  • anon November 16, 2008 at 1:14 pm


    According to police actions, It is perfectly legal to run over a cyclist and even kill a cyclist.

    I hate it that I can type those words and it be true.

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  • gabriel amadeus November 16, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    Wow. Thanks Pryce.

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  • Court Clerk November 16, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    FYI-Unless the two gentlemen intend to plead guilty or no contest to the charges, the cases will NOT be heard in December. All they will be doing at the initial appearance date is enter a plea and give the clerk some info so a trial date can be set.

    Too many people show up expecting to have a trial right then and there and it is just not the process.

    As long as we’re (I’m) on the subject of the court process, please, when you show up in Room 106, keep in mind that the clerks there did not write your citation, nor do we have any say in how your cite is handled. We can do nothing with your story of how picked on and singled out you feel. Guess what? Everyone feels that way. Drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and trimet scofflaws all feel persecuted. Even if we are sympathetic, we can’t do anything anyway. Please, just move on and let me help the person in line behind you.

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  • solid gold November 16, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    see, this is the problem with that much authority placed into one person’s hand with no oversight. you can file your complaint, and guess what’ll happen? nothing. we need an actual police oversight committee with independant power, not just police “supervising” other police.

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  • jim November 16, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    I have had many cyclists pass within a foot of my car, It happens all the time. this only propigates a very negative feeling for cyclists. It dosn’t help when you are not cooertative with a policeman so of course they got tickets. Maybe if they don’t want tickets next time they will use some better judgement. I’m happy they got tickets. I wish more boneheads got tickets.

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  • toddistic November 16, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    Even though I live on Ainsworth near 28th I do not ride on Ainsworth. The cop is a perfect example of the attitude of many drivers on that street take with people on bikes. I find Alberta St. to be more accomidating for riding.

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  • toddistic November 16, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    I’d also like to add there is very little regard for pedistrians crossing the street. Compliance for people stopping for people walking across Ainsworth is non-existant. Ainsworth is a cut throuhg street with only one stop sign (at 15th) between MLK and 33rd. NO OTHER STREET IN ALL OF NE HAS SO FEW TRAFFIC CONTROL DEVICES!!! NOT EVEN LOMBARD!

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  • Drewid November 16, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    Jim #19, try reading the story again. The cop passed the bike within one foot. The bike kept a three foot distance from the parked cars it was passing.

    This is just another cop with a bruised ego who forgot his mission is to protect and serve.

    He wasted our city money on his personal problem, and left a part of Portland without a patrol car for a half hour while doing so.

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  • David Dean November 16, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    They should do more than file a complaint, they should sue the police for harassment.

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  • David Dean November 16, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    An officer can’t go fishing for reasons to give out a citation. Reminds me of this case:


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  • David Dean November 16, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    Also PSU provides legal services for students. You should talk with them.

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  • jim November 16, 2008 at 2:46 pm


    Not true. There are speed bumps placed the entire length of ainsworth.

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  • toddistic November 16, 2008 at 2:58 pm


    Sorry you are wrong. You are thinking N. Ainsworth west of MLK. I think I know my street.

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  • ish November 16, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    Hey Jim19,
    Proper spelling, and command of the English language is helpful when trying to argue a point. It “dosnt” help your case, and “propigates” the idea that people who drive cars are not”cooerative” in ending the targeting of cyclists.

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  • Mark Allyn November 16, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    I have some questons:

    Do any of you know if Sam Adams lurks on this board or at least whether he has someone who lurks here for him?

    Can we assume that he’s either aware of this incident or at least will become so in a short period of time?

    Also, to the court clerk, I though that the arrangement is heard by a judge. Are you saying that at the initial appearence, there is only a clerk, not a judge?

    Perhaps I am wrong, but I thought that a judge can throw out a charge if it’s rediculous even at the arrangment, or first appearance.

    Perhaps you can explain the process a little more for the rest of us. It sounds that I, along with others, is totally mi-informed.

    An while we are talking about the police, what has me worried that if any of those officers who seem to have a negative attitude toward cyclists sees me with all of my lights, can they find something to cite me on.

    Is having too many lights illegal in any way or does the law only care about minimum lighting?


    (Mark Allyn)

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  • Boo Boo November 16, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    Unfortunately, based on this story, which is one side, looks like a possible clear case of a police officer abusing his power. I STRONGLY recommend you not only contest the ticket (I’ll bet big money that the district attorney drops charges to avoid more publicity), but you should file a formal complaint with the IPR (Independent Police Review Committee). I’d also contact a bicycle lawyer and consider suing the city. Unfortunately, that’s what it usually takes to get the Police Bureau’s attention that they must change their view of cyclist and stop harassing so many of them. Really, that office was WAYYYY out of line. Oh, I’d also write to the Mayor, Major elect, and Saltzman’s office.

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  • jim November 16, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    sorry about that. There are other parts of ainsworth with speedbumps too. Neve figured out they they put speed bumps in bike lanes anyways, it just dosn’t make sense.

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  • Gabriel November 16, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    Fight the power!!

    So, what were the cyclists pulled over for specifically? Waving for more room isn’t a crime, so how can an officer legally request your ID to give you a ticket in the first place?

    It sounds like they were officially pulled over for using their 3ft of space on the right, which is legal. So the tickets should subsequently be thrown out since there was no legal reason to be pulled over in the first place.

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  • Velo Vanguard November 16, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    “Is having too many lights illegal in any way or does the law only care about minimum lighting?”

    The law is only concerned about minimum lighting. But, as you can see, that won’t stop the PPB from making up fake traffic infractions and issuing you citations based on those.

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  • Court Clerk November 16, 2008 at 3:39 pm


    You have the option of appearing before the arraignment judge. All that judge is going to do is take a guilty or no contest plea and assess a fine. Sometimes, the judge will impose a lower fine than the clerk is authorized to give you. We have a schedule of fines and, based on your prior record, we reduce as much as we can. The judge is not as restrained as we are and can (though, usually doesn’t) impose a fine lower that we can.

    If you want to dispute any aspect of the case, the arraignment judge will enter a not guilty plea for you and order a trial, which you could have done at the clerk’s counter and saved yourself an hour of more of your time. (Even better, if you want to plea not guilty, mail it in, allowing enough time for it to be received by your scheduled arraignment date.)

    It is extremely rare for a judge to dismiss a violation case at arraignment. The officer presents the state’s case (not a DA, Boo Boo) and judges just don’t dismiss at arraignment due to the fact that only one side is present.

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  • Court Clerk November 16, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    BTW, I’ve not seen a cite issued for excessive lighting on a bicycle. I don’t for a minute think that there aren’t officers who would find a statute to cover it, if they wanted to be a jerk about it.

    My husband works nights and commutes by bike. His coworkers see him on the road and give him a hard time for looking like a Xmas tree. I don’t care. He rides along Marine Drive and I want drivers to see him. So, yes, he does look like a rolling Xmas tree. I like it. It allows me to sleep at night.

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  • r November 16, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    In a space like that shown in the photo captioned “not much space” I would have been taking enough of the lane that the officer would not have been able to pass at all until there was a substantial gap in the line of parked cars. Riding to the left of the door zone is one thing. Taking the lane has to do with preventing an overtaking motorist from passing too close, period. I do recognize that the “far to right” statute arguably does not support me on this (am I moving left “to avoid a hazard”? yes, I think so, but the traffic court judge might disagree. Also, we see here one more reason not to produce identification in this kind of situation. While 807.560 does require you to notify DOT within thirty days of a change of address, 807.570 requires you to produce the license when requested by an officer in the course of a “lawful” stop only when driving a [motor] vehicle. I hope these guys fight this hard, and I agree that BTA should make itself heard. Can we get the court date posted somewhere?

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  • greenkrypto November 16, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    It is nice to see our city PD spending so much time being petty and immature, instead of catching burglars and thiefs.

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  • re: r November 16, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    r (#32) Rueben was not carrying his license during the ride, the officer asked him for his name and address and cited him based on that.

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  • Jenny November 16, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    I was on this ride, and not only am I completely dumbfounded by the officer handing Reuben a ticket for “riding in the street” but that he made a comment about us not riding fast enough up the hill.

    fyi – the court date as listed on the tickets is December 12th at 8:30am.

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  • Refunk November 16, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    Mark Allyn @ #28:

    As far your lights go, I think that if you ran into this particular cop, you might only be concerned about white light facing to the rear and blue light anywhere on the bike. Blue is reserved for emergency/official vehicles. You’re probably the last person PPB should be concerned with over lights! (they should cite the lightless ninjas in dark clothing crossing against traffic controls!)

    These guys from PSU definitely got harrassed by a cop being bad. Keep us informed on this one, Jonathan!

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  • Mark Allyn November 16, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    Court Clerk: Thanks for clarifying. I appreciate it!

    To Refunk: While I do have the white light on the front, I also have some small blue lights.

    These blue lights are part of the decoration. Some of them are in the fiber optic light tubes and in the LED spoon sculpture on the back and front panniers as well as the legs of the steel stainless steel ‘man’ figure bolted on rails on the front of the bike (see the picture at: http://www.allyn.com/bicycle/thumb_bike6.html

    Since they are NOT flashing or blinking, I thaught they may be okay.

    Part of my commute includes going past the Justice Center as I head toward the Hawthorne Bridge in my evening commute.

    Perhaps I should shut down the decorative lights as I pass the police headquaters . . .


    (Mark Allyn)

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  • Cecil November 16, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    “The judge is not as restrained as we are and can (though, usually doesn’t) impose a fine lower that we can.”

    By statute, in most instances, the court cannot reduce the fine by more than 25% – ORS 153.093.

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  • Tbird November 16, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    This is another prime example of why we need seperated bike lanes. Obviously the PPB doesn’t value the safety of cyclists on the street, why should the rest of the population? In the photo above it shows cars parked along the street. This space should be used for a bike lane. I’m sick of public space being used for the storage of increacing obsolete private property. From now on I’m parki g my bike on the street til we get a European style bike lane system.
    F$&k the police!

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  • dan Kearl November 16, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    I thought it was just tri-met bus drivers that enjoyed seeing how close they can get to cyclists. I have more close calls with city employees that anybody else on the road. Sam Adams gets way too much slack on this website, He is a city commissioner. I have complained to tri-met about their drivers with no response. I wouldn’t expect much from the city or the police dept.

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  • Court Clerk November 16, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    I’m sorry. I wasn’t clear in my response above.

    The judge can reduce the fine to something lower than the clerks are authorized to assess if someone is a repeat offender. For example, a person is cited for a “B” violation, with a base fine of $242. The minimum is $182, but the person has two prior convictions in the past three years. The clerks can only assess a fine of $194 in that case. The judge can assess the $182, or, in the alternative, impose $242 or even higher (up to the statutory maximum, $427) if he/she wants to really leave an impression. More often than not, the judge will impose the $194.

    In addition, the judge can impose a fine, but, suspend the fine if the defendant completes some requirement within a certain period of time, like take a safety course, register a vehicle or obtain a valid license or insurance. In that case, the conviction is reported to DMV (if a driving offense), but no fine is imposed by the court. Only a judge can authorize that. We clerks cannot.

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  • Klixi November 16, 2008 at 5:47 pm


    This is the most bizarre and stupid thing I’ve ever read on here. This guy has all the makings of a bad cop.. citing someone for safely riding in the road? This is so stupid my brain hurts. Clearly the cop’s ego got bruised and in retaliation he dished some bogus tickets. I hope a lot of publicity surrounds this one.

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  • justa November 16, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    I’m sorry I don’t have anything more constructive to say than my initial reaction: what a DICK!

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  • Martin November 16, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    What is the carbon/pollution footprint of one of these fancy cars? What is the happiness quotient of cops on bikes vs. cops in cars?

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  • Steven J November 16, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    Man…this kind of fool Cop wouldn’t hesitate to Pitt a Bike rider.
    He desperately needs a BTA Enema.

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  • n8m November 16, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    Wow, way to shitlist yourself Officer Price.

    Thanks for the story.

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  • CMyers November 16, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    I used to ride this street each and everyday. But I, like many of us, have had to many close calls to continue riding Ainsworth.
    Who or where can we email to express our frustration over topics like this one?

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  • n8m November 16, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    …whoops, “Pryce” rather.

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  • Paul Tay November 16, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    Contest the “impeding” charge, fo’ shure. See Trotwood v. Selz.

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  • Paul Tay November 16, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    How to Beat Cop Stops, WITHOUT Really Trying:
    1) Tell him what he wants to hear;
    2) NEVER argue the case without the presence of a judge;
    3) Kill ’em with KINDNESS.

    Until a judge adjudicates the case in YOUR favor, you ONLY think you have rights.

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  • E November 16, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    Please, please file a complaint. If it doesn’t get a response, get a lawyer. Inaction in the face of injustice perpetuates the injustice – and makes it easier for the officer to do it again.

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  • djkenny November 16, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    I have nothing personally against the PP. If I had a negative experience…well then I may relate and have different feelings. Many become officers of the law likely do so to make our communitiesa better and safer place.
    However, it seems sad and true that many of the wrong kinds of people *become* police officers. Usually they have chips on their shoulders or some kind of mission to be in control, or some other deep rooted problem (experiences in CA and from friend’s of mine who have told stories). Then again…”wanting” a job like this…I doubt many level headed people would be in line to become a Police officer.

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  • Refunk November 16, 2008 at 7:37 pm

    Didn’t OR get a passing-space-allowance statute passed recently? Couldn’t this PSU rider initiate that citizen citation process against the officer for violation of the ORS? Wouldn’t that be interesting?

    [I guess not if I’m confused about the existence of such a law on the books…]

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  • Refunk November 16, 2008 at 7:54 pm

    And Mark Allyn,

    I’ve watched cops issue citations to folks for having blue “decorative” lights on their automobiles- illumination, actually, since the actual lights themselves were concealed under fenders. It’s pretty much a 50-state thing, I think, but probably most often enforced to harass. Any cop citing you, that couldn’t tell yer bike lights from art would have other issues as well, no doubt.

    Clearly Officer Pryce was driving with his head up his fourth point of contact.

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  • Andy B from Jersey November 16, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    I didn’t read anybodies comments yet so if someone said this already my appologies.

    I would go ahead and issue the driver of the car (the police officer) a couple of moving violations as well. In New Jersey a private citizen can issue another citizen all manner of moving violations (don’t know about OR). It is usually only done after a crash in an attempt to try to solidify who was at fault for causing the crash.

    I’ve done it when a lady went through a stop sign and hit my car. In that case I just wanted to make sure she didn’t try to blame me somehow by saying, using a moving violation, that I was speeding or something and that caused the crash.

    Get a good lawyer to help too.

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  • Joe November 16, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    This is absolutely unacceptable. No one has the right to endanger bicyclists or any other users of the road – especially someone who’s paid by the public to enforce traffic laws… COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE..

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  • Kt November 16, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    Refunk, you are not confused. The state passed the 3-foot rule with effective date of Jan 1, 2008.

    I believe it was part of the Vulnerable Road Users thing.

    I don’t have the ORS handy, though. Hopefully, someone will post it! 🙂

    And Clerk: Thanks.

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  • K'Tesh November 16, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    The Next BTA Free Legal Brief is going to be held on Weds, Nov 19 6:00-7:00 pm. It will be held at the BTA’s office in Portland…

    RVSP with the BTA

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  • Joe Rowe November 16, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    Sine Portland cops write bogus tickets knowing the burden is on the cyclist. The city auditor and attorney let this happen over and over. It is time to get the mayor and attorney to write some memos to set the few bad cops straight.

    As for the change of home without change of address on your driver’s license, it is painful, but the cop is within the law. Better ask a lawyer. I wonder how many cops have moved and neglected to update their license? All the other citations are easy to beat in court.

    814.430 can be used to throw out the ticket for 811.130.

    814.430…”reasonably necessary to avoid hazardous conditions including, …parked cars….too narrow for a bicycle and vehicle to travel safely side by side” ( AKA the full lane law )

    811.130…811.130 “not in violation of the (impeding) if the person is proceeding in a manner needed for safe operation..

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  • bjorn November 16, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    I was riding on this stretch earlier this year at night with my friend when a car decided to try and pass us when there was not enough room. She tried to look back as the car honked and tried to squeeze by at which point she hit the curb and ended up with a concussion and a trip to the emergency room. The driver of the car of course fled the scene. I don’t understand why the city suggests you should ride on this street both with signage and on mpas as the combination of a narrow single lane with parking and occasional curb extensions makes for a lot of scary interactions. I wonder is there video from the cop’s onboard camera showing that he is not leaving enough space? Few motorists do actually leave enough so I doubt that the cop did.


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  • Joe Rowe November 16, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    You should call up a lawyer like Mark Ginsberg or Ray Thomas and find out if you ( the cyclist ) can give a citation to a risky driver…

    811.140 Reckless driving; penalty….drives a vehicle …. in a manner that endangers the safety of persons or property. …. as defined in ORS 161.085.

    161.085 Definitions….(9) “Recklessly,” when used with respect to … circumstance described by a statute … means that a person is aware of and consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk …. that the circumstance exists. The risk must be of such nature and degree that disregard thereof constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the situation.

    You would just have to show the Judge that most parked cars are a foot from the curb on Ainsworth and most moving cars are big and drive a foot from the median. In other words it is not reasonable for a car to try and fit in the same lane as a bike. 95% of cars just wait a few seconds when I’m riding. They wait for a section with no parked cars.

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  • Joe Rowe November 16, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    As for Mr. Welte…

    814.070 … if the pedestrian …(a) Takes a position upon …. the roadway where there is an adjacent usable sidewalk or shoulder.

    I don’t know how to argue against such a broad statue. It could be used to cite almost anyone in Portland on a road and not on a sidewalk. For example: crossing the street, walking to your car, etc. Contact a lawyer.

    One possible way to defeat 814.070 is that it seems far too broad and could be shot down with Section 26 of the Oregon Constitution … “No law shall be passed restraining any of the inhabitants of the State from assembling together in a peaceable manner to consult for their common good”

    … in other words it was reasonable to collect evidence for a friend in standing in a road acting as a witness… my guess is that Mr. Welte did not refuse to step on to the curb. In other words it should be acceptable to be a witness to a friend who is being cited as long as you are not interfering with an investigation, a risk to yourself, risk to others. ( State v. Ausmus )


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  • Aka November 16, 2008 at 11:03 pm

    Where officer Pryce failed is when he pulled Reuben over for the only reason that he waived him off. In other words,if Reuben really was riding illegally, he should have pulled him over before getting so closed to him. From the sound of it, it looks like the cop car was just trying to be annoying and was going to pass them.

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  • Aka November 16, 2008 at 11:13 pm


    I don’t think a cyclist should pass you 1 foot from you BUT be smart and think of the consequences: what happen if a cyclist at 12mph hit you car? what happen if a car at 25+ mph hit the cyclist? hmmm, don’t be stupid by telling me it doesn’t matter, a life vs a scratch DOES matter.

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  • Loren November 16, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    I’ve left a few comments in the past about what I have witnessed with the PPB. I don’t want to say they’re all bad, but this is ridiculous. If I ever get a ticket like this I’m going to get a lawyer and pursue it like no tomorrow. I hope these guys write the mayor, congressman, etc. It’s really time for an attitude adjustment within the PPB. They just don’t care, and that’s what we pay them to do.

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  • jim November 16, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    So what your saying is that you need to have 3 ft from parked car to bike, 2 ft wide for bike, 3more ft. for passing car. That is a total of 8 ft. that a bike needs to go down a road. At 8 ft. the bike would have to take the lane not leaving any room for a car to pass. The bike would have to pull over when it is impeding traffic though.
    sorry if some of my typing is off- I borrowed a mini laptop that…..

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  • matt picio November 16, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    solid gold (#18) – I agree with you 100%. We need a fully-independent citizens’ police oversight committee. At the moment, there is no effective means of recourse to fight police abuse of authority.

    If this incident happened in the manner in which it was described, the police officer should be receiving a citation for passing too close, because if either bike had fallen over to the side, they would have struck the police car (ORS 811.065). Unfortunately if this is indeed the case, the officer will likely be able to claim that he was acting according to his duties as a police officer and thus exempt from obeying the statute.

    This is yet another reason why residents of the City of Portland and cycling residents in particular are dissatisfied with our police bureau. Dozens of incidents like this happen each year, and each one lowers the bureau’s reputation, not only in the eyes of the citizen directly affected, but in those of the friends, neighbors and families of that individual. I recall that when I worked in retail, the general formula I was told was one upset customer cost you 17 sales, due to word of mouth.

    jim (#26) – sorry to nitpick, but speed bumps aren’t traffic control devices – TCDs are stop signs and stoplights. Speed bumps (technically, the term is “speed hump” – I don’t know why) are traffic calming or traffic management devices. (Alta / DEA please correct any misstatements here)

    re: r (#38) – that’s even worse, since we are not required to have a license to operate a bike, nor are we required to carry identification around everywhere (but look for that one to change in the next 5 years, under the guise of public safety)

    Refunk (#57), Kt (#61) – ORS 811.065 – it was originally Senate Bill 108.

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  • Noel November 16, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    PSU has a some lawyers for their students. REUBEN or PETER (I’m sure they are reading it) go check it out at the campus safety or at the info. desk in smith center building.

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  • Racer X November 17, 2008 at 12:22 am

    But now that Sam will be mayor he will not be overseeing the PPB.

    But he will be keeping Transportation…so perhaps this street should be made safer for bicyclists and drivers (either made into a very low speed shared street or have the parking removed).

    Review the crash and speed history for this facility and see how it should be addressed based on its function. (Many cities do not have municipal codes requiring on street residential parking but they do have requirements for safety and multimodal capacity…but we still seem to have too much parking and few bike lanes on critical routes)

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  • P Finn November 17, 2008 at 1:06 am

    Shame on you, Officer Pryce.

    Shame on you.

    Shame on you.

    “He asked if that actually happens”

    Am I the only one that is utterly baffled by this line of questioning? What the F(*&Q^#&^#*&^#!@%)&^#)%(*&^!!!!????

    {…if that actually happens…What, oh, no, I just made that up…I figured, y’know, hey, it could happen…if people ever made careless mistakes…which they don’t –ever.}

    I would not ride Ainsworth without a mirror to help identify congestion or maniacs behind me…but I would not expect to be buzzed by the fuzz…[Jonathan: your new headline]

    Funny story…I once was riding down SE 21st south of Clinton when I saw a squad car in my mirror coming up quickly, then slowing. I slowed to allow it to pass…continued to slow…and came to a complete stop with the cops to my left. The passenger asked me to pull over to the curb, ID’d me, and made up some crap story about my bike looking stolen…such weak sauce…like schoolchildren.

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  • KWW November 17, 2008 at 1:43 am

    What a dick. Fishing for citations. That is why you should always record the conversation if you are pulled over, many cellphones have this function.

    I am not saying it is legal, far from it, but Ofc. Pryce would be fired if this is truly what happened and he was recorded.

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  • joe November 17, 2008 at 3:14 am

    hey, let’s give credit where credit is due. in this particular case, the event concluded with no tackling, no tasering and not a single death in custody. As I am sure jim the troll would agree, the PPB is making strides here.

    What do we think should be done with Ofc. Pryce? Apology? Suspension, etc? If he keeps up this sort of behavior, we could nominate him for a Kruger(imaginary and sarcastic award for a$$hole police behavior)

    File the complaint. It will conclude that the officer did nothing wrong.

    Finally, this sort of thing is the reason why I never gesture to motorists anymore. It gets you in trouble more than it helps. just my opinion.

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  • Steven J November 17, 2008 at 5:27 am

    Not to Hijack this Thread, but I’m Curious

    Are we (or will we in the future) required to carry Identification?

    Never encountered the situation, But I ride early morning, and don’t carry a wallet @ 3-5am.

    I always figured I’d give good Info, and If they needed to verify, they have means.
    Kind of a “innocent till proven guilty sort of thing”.

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  • Rob Brethouwer November 17, 2008 at 7:03 am

    I don’t even live in Portland and I would contribute to a defense fund. The entire situation should have never happened. The police should be embarassed and offer a very public apology.

    Rob Brethouwer
    Montrose, Colorado

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  • Rich November 17, 2008 at 7:33 am

    #75 Bob Mionske has covered this here
    http://www.velonews.com/article/8843 and

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  • G.A.R. November 17, 2008 at 7:38 am

    The Oregon Bicyclist Manual at http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/BIKEPED/docs/bike_manual_06.pdf makes it clear that Vyn was right. The images of bikes riding alongside parked cars are accompanied by text that instructs the rider to “Ride far enough away from parked cars so you don’t risk being hit by an opening car door.”

    To Jim #68 I’d say it is the car that requires the eight feet. If the passing vehicle were a bike it would take far less room to be safe. We have a lot of problems with cars.

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  • btodd November 17, 2008 at 7:49 am

    Can we please now focus on getting better Mt. Bike opportunities around our fair city. No cars on the singletrack will be guaranteed. The streets will only grow more crowded. We must flee to nature.

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  • Maculsay November 17, 2008 at 7:53 am

    “considering” filing a complaint” seems to illustrate that there are facts that are not yet clear, and since only one side of the story is being told, it’s hard to say what really happened.

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  • Tbird November 17, 2008 at 8:05 am

    the difference in Portland and real bike-friendly societies, like Denmark and the Netherlands is that in those place the police actually work to protect cyclists from maniac drivers, and here the police are part of the maniac mob.
    Until our police force drops their personal agenda, or perhaps they city stops hiring cops with an agenda against cyclists, then Portland is not even close to bike friendly.
    Cmon portlanders, stand up, stop patting ourselves on the back and let’s make real change. Remove parking, build real (seperated) bike lanes along heavy traffic streets, and get a police force that protects us instead harassing us.

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  • Enci November 17, 2008 at 8:07 am

    Good luck in December! Keep us updated about the outcome!

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  • Joe November 17, 2008 at 8:14 am

    wow, I feel this almost everytime I ride by a cop, sad to say, but its how i feel riding near one.

    let me see your driver lic# ahh Sir I don’t have one. Good ID 🙂

    besafe in this fog all!

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  • kgb November 17, 2008 at 8:39 am

    Officer Pryce, way to get noticed your reputation is now established and your career has peaked. But then you’ve always known that you are nothing special. Isn’t that why you behave the way you do.

    When in this area do yourself a favor an ride Holman two blocks to the North. Ainsworth is a speeders haven and obviously the PPB is to busy on power trips to protect the citizens of Portland.

    As far as not painting the whole department with the bad acts of a few officers I disagree. Hold them all accountable and maybe they will start holding one another accountable.

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  • Paul Tay November 17, 2008 at 9:12 am

    ROFLMFAO!!! Wait til LAW gets wind of this! So much for PDX being the cycling NIRVINA of America. So much for MOST Bike-Friendly City, PLATINUM Level. 😛

    Anybody out there pining to move to PDX, STAY HOME! It ain’t all DAT. Make the grass on YOUR side of da fence greener, instead of being the NEXT PPB cop stop bait.

    The spandex-clad ‘mo wuz GUILTY of giving the cop LIP. Cops who stop cyclists usually want to feel SUPERIOR. So, the ‘mo should have scratch da ITCH! Never give LIP, dammit.

    NO ‘mo in Tulsa EVER gets nailed for “impeding,” UNLESS the said perp is impersonating SANTA, on July da 4th. ROFLMFAO!!!! You guys are killing me!!!!

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  • Brian November 17, 2008 at 9:30 am

    hear, all ye good people, hear what this brilliant and eloquent speaker has to say!
    kgb #86
    “Hold them all accountable and maybe they will start holding one another accountable.”

    Perhaps rouge of the week for little o officer Pryce. Rouge nominations: hstern@wweek.com

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  • velo November 17, 2008 at 9:44 am

    OK, this is nonsense and we need to hold OUR police department accountable.

    Call the city council, the police and the mayor and tell them why this sort of behavior is unacceptable. Demand action and make it clear that we will not be off their backs until the police act in the interest of public safety.

    We are a big group of people and need to make ourselves heard. Call them and insist on talking to as many important people as you can, make them spend there time. Write a letter and fax it to them – repeatedly. Get friends to do the same. Clog their fax line, make them feed paper and cause a disruption. We need to have an impact.

    The police are supposed to serve the interests of the people and public safety. When they fail to do that it is our duty to make it clear that we disagree with their actions and will do everything in our power to hold them to account.

    Some numbers to call and complain:

    Tom Potter, Mayor
    Commissioner of Finance and Administration
    City Hall @ 1221 SW 4th Avenue, Room 340, 97204
    Phone: (503)823-4120
    E-mail: mayorpotter@ci.portland.or.us

    Sam Adams
    Commissioner of Public Utilities, Position Number 1
    City Hall @ 1221 SW 4th Avenue, Room 220, 97204
    Phone: (503)823-3008
    E-mail: commissionersam@ci.portland.or.us

    Nick Fish

    Commissioner of Public Works, Position Number 2
    City Hall @ 1221 SW 4th Ave, Room 240, 97204
    (503) 823-3589
    e-mail: Nick@ci.portland.or.us

    Randy Leonard
    Commissioner of Public Safety, Position Number 4
    City Hall @ 1221 SW 4th Avenue, Room 210, 97204
    Phone: (503)823-4682
    E-mail: randy@ci.portland.or.us

    Dan Saltzman
    Commissioner of Public Affairs, Position Number 3
    City Hall @ 1221 SW 4th Avenue, Room 230, 97204
    Phone: (503)823-4151
    E-mail: dsaltzman@ci.portland.or.us

    Independent Police Review
    1221 SW 4th Avenue, Room 320, 97204
    Phone: 503-823-0146

    Police Bureau
    1111 SW 2nd Avenue, 97204
    Phone: 503-823-4636
    Non-Emergency Phone: 503-823-3333

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  • Moo November 17, 2008 at 9:48 am

    If signaling the officer (with a lateral motion of the hand) to give more space when passing his bike was not misconstrued as a verticle signal of the middle finger kind, then I’m for a complaint. But piss one these persons off wearing a uniform and badge, then consider yourself lucky that you didn’t end up in the medical ward at the county lock-up.

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  • mmann November 17, 2008 at 9:50 am

    Best thing that could happen to officer Pryce is the riders win in court, and he is reassigned to bike patrol. Sounds like he needs a first-hand education.

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  • Paul Tay November 17, 2008 at 9:50 am

    #88, Velo, oh, fo’ shure. Git ‘er DUN, people!

    NOBODY should EVER have to put themselves in DANGER, just because some cop wants to feel SUPERIOR.

    Hey, isn’t there a safe passing rule in OR Statutes? If cop passed within ONE foot, he should have gotten NAILED. Good grief. Who’s the REAL problem here?

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  • Coyote November 17, 2008 at 10:34 am

    I guess I don’t see this as a cops & bicycles thing. I see it as the classic result of popping-off to a cop. ‘Not saying Vyn was wrong to do it, I have been there a time or two, but he really should have expected the result. For me, moving thru the world trying to correct the behavior of Others, costs too much soul.

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  • Pete November 17, 2008 at 10:47 am

    Where’s that girl with the videocamera asking the cops for their IDs when you need her?

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  • Aka November 17, 2008 at 10:53 am

    to #70

    It is usually respectful for a driver to go over the other lane when passing a bike. Just like he would have done when passing another fellow driver.

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  • compassionate islander November 17, 2008 at 10:59 am

    ‘kay, I may have missed someone else commenting on it but it is funny that someone noted the BTA should be all over this one – tomorrow evening is a bike legal clinic, free to the public but I wonder if it is full already. Perhaps officer whatshisface can find a seat.


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  • Brian November 17, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Another fine example of ‘The cops’ make the world a better place. I live in WA county. I can’t remember the last time I saw WA County Sheriff or Beaverton Police doing any meaningful traffic enforcement. But I’ve seen three occasions of Beaverton cops stopping cyclist without lights (while this is wrong in pales in comparison to what the cars are doing).

    When it comes to general traffic safety, I have very little respect for what the encorcement community.

    Wish there was something I could do to change the status quo.

    Mr Vyn and Mr Welte please file a complaint.

    I hope we hear more on this story.

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  • maxadders November 17, 2008 at 11:04 am

    I just sent an email to the city commissioners listed above. I hope you do the same!

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  • Aka November 17, 2008 at 11:11 am

    to #92
    You comment reminds me of that video
    (see my “website”: click on my name)

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  • brodie November 17, 2008 at 11:15 am

    hey reuben and peter, good job trying to explain the law to the officer, and expressing your feelings to his unsafe driving. hopefully this will end the right way. an officer’s ignorance of the law he is supposed to uphold is no reason for you to have to pay these charges..

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  • brodie November 17, 2008 at 11:33 am

    i agree that a complaint is in order, but would be in order even if reuben had flipped the officer off. there is actually a legal precedent for flipping officers the bird, as it is a prtected form of free speech. the issue here is that the officer broke the law (very clearly) when passing, and then unfairly used his power to punish those who would point that out to him.

    i know you weren’t sticking up for the cop, i’m just saying…

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  • tiah November 17, 2008 at 11:39 am

    in case it wasn’t said yet: bicycles allowed full lane ors 814.430(2)(c)

    i couldn’t read all 100 responses right now but wanted to throw that out there.

    sorry to hear about the ordeal, guys.

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  • Paul Tay November 17, 2008 at 11:41 am

    Punishment by process, fo’ shure.

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  • tvhwy November 17, 2008 at 11:55 am

    Citizen-initiated citation against the officer.

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  • Neversummer November 17, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    I’m confused. The officer wrote a ticket for impeding traffic. I thought a cyclist could take the lane if needed – which is not the case according to Mr. Vyn anyhow. If readers are up on the law please advise, or even better offer a resource for cycle related law (aside from Pedal Power).

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  • PdxMark November 17, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    To AKA #95 (It is usually respectful for a driver to go over the other lane when passing a bike. Just like he would have done when passing another fellow driver.)

    There’s a grass median along that stretch of Ainsworth. It’s actually a relatively narrow single lane street in each direction.

    If the officer passed the cyclists at less than 35 mph, it looks like there wouldn’t have been a violation of the Oregon Safe Passing law, even though it could/would have felt dangerous and unnecessary:

    ORS 811.065, “Unsafe passing of a person operating a bicycle.”

    (1) A driver of a motor vehicle commits the offense of unsafe passing of a person operating a bicycle if the driver violates any of the following requirements:
    (a) The driver of a motor vehicle may only pass a person operating a bicycle by driving to the left of the bicycle at a safe distance and returning to the lane of travel once the motor vehicle is safely clear of the overtaken bicycle. For the purposes of this paragraph, a ‘safe distance’ means a distance that is sufficient to prevent contact with the person operating the bicycle if the person were to fall into the driver’s lane of traffic. [B]This paragraph does not apply to a driver operating a motor vehicle:[/B]
    (A) In a lane that is separate from and adjacent to a designated bicycle lane;
    [B](B) At a speed not greater than 35 miles per hour; or[/B]
    (C) When the driver is passing a person operating a bicycle on the person’s right side and the person operating the bicycle is turning left.

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  • tofutodd November 17, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    @ 39 Jenny –

    Jenny, as far as not going fast enough up the hill, the officer was talking about taking the lane i think. To take the lane you have to ride the speed of traffic, be turning, or avoiding a hazard. In this case the officer felt continously riding 3ft away from parking cars was not avoiding a legitmate hazard and was disatisfied with the lack of speed up the hill. This may have prompted the ticket. Rather than ticket a simple warning would have sufficed.

    I guess the sticking point is concerns about dooring and whether it is continous hazard. I ride close to parked cars so cyclists can pass on the left within the bike lane and I actively look for driver’s heads. I guess on longrides it’s easier just to ride further out and not worry about it.

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  • tofutodd November 17, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    Pedal Power basically sums up when you don’t have to stay close to the curb:

    The Bicyclist’s Bill of Rights:

    Bicyclists must stay as close
    to the curb as is practical
    except when:
    • proceeding at the speed limit
    • turning left
    • the lane is not wide enough
    to allow safe passing, or
    • surface hazards make it
    necessary to take more of
    the lane.

    Okay to ride along left side
    of road on one way street.
    Bicyclists can ride “two up,”
    or side by side; not three

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  • El Biciclero November 17, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    If you’re ever riding close to parked cars when a door opens, I hope you have room to swerve out of the way and that there is not someone passing you at that moment. The reason to stay “continuously” far away from parked cars is so you don’t get squeezed into a situation with no maneuvering room.

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  • Moo November 17, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    Right on brodie, no cop sticker-upper here…especially in this matter. As far as bird flipping being a protected form of free speech, try telling that to a cop that just got dissed by you. These folks tend to fly off the handle at any time – maybe they’re over worked and over stressed, or are just tired of having a big plate of s#*t served to them every night they go home. But when they put their mind to something, like slapping you with a big fine to go with the even bigger inconvenience, then they will. If that isn’t working, watch out for the haymakers or the from behind body slam.

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  • bobcycle November 17, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    Just a question…. on some narrow streets with parked cars the best way to take a lane and maintain auto speed seems to be to “draft” a vehicle moving at speed limit. Maintaining 25-30 mph is possible if someone else is creating an appropriate slip stream. So is this legal? I’m not recommending this to anyone else, I’m just saying rather than be passed by moving autos within 12″ with parked cars immediatley on my right (door’d?)I’d personally rather take my chances drafting.

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  • Gary Walter November 17, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    Never get in a “pissing” match with a cop. They will win every time. Power, authority, and big guns.

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  • El Biciclero November 17, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    jim said:
    “So what your saying is that you need to have 3 ft from parked car to bike, 2 ft wide for bike, 3more ft. for passing car. That is a total of 8 ft. that a bike needs to go down a road.”

    OR, we could say that a car needs 1 ft. from the curb, 6 feet for the width of the car, 3 more feet to open its door. That is a total of 10 feet that a parked car needs to sit there doing nothing.

    Remove the parked cars, and people using the road to travel, rather than store vehicles, have all the room they need: a bike would probably only need 7 feet and passing cars would have 11-12.

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  • Alicia Crain November 17, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    This is not surprising. Happens to me on a daily – sometimes twice daily – basis. I live at NE 32nd & Rosa Parks and use Ainsworth to go to & from PSU. What I find surprising, disconcerting, and downright repulsive is the approach by this particular Portland Police Officer to this situation. He put one – maybe all 6 of the riders – in danger and decided that the best way to remedy the situation, rather than, oh, I don’t know APOLOGIZING and talking to the riders about safety on such streets (afterall, is not the PPB motto “To Protect and Serve”?), is to issue a citation?

    I wonder if I would have gotten cited for “riding in the road” when a white Cadillac Escalade hopped the median curb to pass me as I was biking home between NE 11th & NE 15th a couple weeks ago, then turned at 15th, had I called it in to report the wreckless behavior? Or how about when some people in a small SUV ran a stop sign right in front of me and when I hollered to call their attention to it, the passenger flipped me off? Or how about when I bike down Ainsworth EVERYDAY and get honked at by people too impatient to tap on the brakes and wait until I can get past a line of cars to where I can get over and give them more room who then just turn a block and half up the road? Should I be cited for their angry and aggressive driving behavior because I chose to do what the City of Portland called on me to do in its Bike Master Plan, its plan to fight global warming, and Metro’s Smart Growth plans and I use my bicycle – in the *gasp* ROAD of all places – for ALL of my trips, regardless of length because I DON’T HAVE A CAR and the bus is just too damn expensive.

    Sounds like PPB has a lot of educating to do of its force. Officer Parman, I hope you’re up to the task because Kruger sure has left his anti-bike legacy for you to deal with.

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  • Rixtir November 17, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    It’s illegal for the officer to pass that closely. Somebody needs to make a citizen’s issued prosecution against Officer Pryce.

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  • Alicia Crain November 17, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    Oh and the speed limit on Ainsworth is 30, not 35. 30. Learn it, love it, use another street if you can’t realize your saving 30 seconds is not more important than my life.

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  • brodie November 17, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    I hear you moo. There is, after all, that case going on right now with the PPB killing an unarmed man for the crime of being mentally ill. Just pointing out that there’s nothing illegal with flipping off a cop.
    This gets to the heart of this story, by the way. The reason not to flip off a cop is for fear of retribution, which these riders got anyway.
    While we are debating the merits of the tickets (which, according to my analysis, it seems clear that the cop violated the principle of passing at a “safe distance”) we are forgetting that Reuben wasn’t pulled over for the infraction. He was pulled over for expressing anger at the cop, and then ticketed as an afterthought. This sort of harassment is the real crime in this scenario.

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  • RyNO Dan November 17, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    On-street free parking is just another subsidy to the car people. It should be restricted. Only one side of the
    street mostly, and completely disallowed on bus routes.

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  • tofutodd November 17, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    @ El Biciclero

    I haven’t been doored yet thankfully. I guess my concern is that there is no way to avoid it. I am afraid if I swerve left it could be into traffic, or catch my handle bar on their door and go out of control, and potentially veer back into traffic (I know you would get steered right initially, but who knows, maybe I over compentsate). I guess I would rather just go down quick and stay in the bike lane where I know I won’t get run over by a bus. Better to loose a tooth and break a collar bone that get run over. That is my current thought process anyways and not necessarily a good one. Plus its courteous to other riders…

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  • One Less :( November 17, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    I lived in Eugene for a few years, was riding to school one day and a cop whips past me and into a parking spot maybe 30 or so feet in front of me. I KNEW I was about to be doored. I moved over and as he opened the door I shut it back on his leg. He got out and yelled at me to stop. This, luckily, was directly in front of about 15 or so witnesses. We talked about the law and how is was speeding in a school zone and failing to yield right away. His excuse was that he was late to lunch with his wife! I nicely asked if being late to lunch was worth hurting others. He apologized and we went our separate ways. I think he may have realized two things. One, that he was actually in the wrong and second, that his wife may be watching. It was Priceless!

    Be careful out there my fellow 2 cyclists. 99.9% of interactions with the blue wearing men and women of the PPB will NOT end up like this. These boys have witnesses and the cop has his word, too bad that the cyclists will most likely need a lawyer to get the law to side with them, even though they are clearly in the right. Wait for court, get the verdict, and if you win file a compliant and sue the city for harassment!

    Somebody needs to rein this rogues in before we see something end very badly.

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  • Tom November 17, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    Recently I had a police office pass within 6 inches of my handlebar when I was going 20 mph on a neighborhood road with no shoulder near Rocky Butte. He was in no hurry to go anywhere, just patrolling the neighborhood. I was taken aback and I was pissed off – contemplated pulling up next to him at the next stoplight and letting him know that I thought it was unsafe. This story reminds me why I’m glad I didn’t.

    Piece of advice – don’t mess with cops, don’t get in their faces, don’t lecture them or display anger/frustration. They will come down on you and you will suffer for it as illustrated in the story. I call them “Sir” or “Ma’am” even when I don’t want to, and answer their questions promptly, directly and without editorial comment.

    Right or wrong, you must admit they have tough jobs that would set most people on edge. My personal observation is that in general the police don’t take kindly to corrective “feedback” from the general public while on the beat.

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  • Mark Allyn November 17, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    Very, very, very good point about not arguing with the police on the spot. This is extremely important. Just take the ticket and not say anything except the absolute minimum.

    The place to argue and make noise is when you are safely in the presence of your attorney and the judge.

    That leads to the question; what are the attitudes of the judges in this city (Portland)?

    Are they any better then the cops?

    Is there any way to educate / work with them? Perhaps give a talk at their association meetings?

    Perhaps some of the attorneys among us know where and how to meet with the judges on an informal bases to get them to know us and our issues.

    Perhaps someone like Sam Adams, who is higher up in the city could arrange such a meeting?


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  • jp November 17, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    Wow! Crazy story. Seems like this should be in some podunk town where cops are on major power kicks. He’s pretty ballsy. What a jack ass.

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  • James Ceccorulli November 17, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    Could children playing kick-ball or tag get cited for a violation of ORS 814.070, improper positioning on a highway?

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  • Heidi November 17, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    Mr. Welte (Pete) is my brother and the fact that he got a ticket for this is absolutely ridiculous. That cop was being a complete ass. I bike commute in the Beaverton area and have to ride down Murray and I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve seen cars pull out of the car lane and into the bike lane to be able to pass traffic and make a turn. They do this constantly, whether they’ve just passed a biker in the bike lane or not. Just last week a car did that exact move, in front of me in the bike lane, and passing a cop car waiting at the light who did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. It is SO frustrating.

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  • Joe Rowe November 17, 2008 at 10:08 pm

    yes, any kid in the street could get cited for 814.070 ( if there was a sidewalk alternative)
    I do not agree that the majority of good cops must flush out other cops. The crazy advice for this peer hunt is nuts. Would we expect parents to turn on each other if they thought someone was a bad parent? Would we expect teachers? This is why we need a much better independent police review. It is true that the current IPR is useless. If we had a working IPR in Portland the bad cops would be flushed out very quickly, and they would ( and should ) be given some forgiveness for minor stuff. Cops and teachers go through a hell the rest of you will never know. Cops more so.
    In closing, the cop should get a ticket for both 811.140 “Reckless driving” and “unsafe passing” ORS 811.065. Let the courts decide.

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  • zilfondel November 17, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    Wow, this is terrible. I was pulled over in July for running a stoplight (guilty as charged), did the whole share the road class, and when I met up with the officer in court he was very nice, and moved to have my charge dismissed.

    Sorry you may have had a bad apple there… I would definitely file a ‘not guilty’ plea and maybe file a complaint or see if you can file a citizen’s citation.

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  • RandB November 17, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    Back in the sixties cars did not have tinted windows. One could quickly and easily look through the car’s back window to see if there was someone in the car and if so adjust to the possibility of them opening the door. One could also see into the car through the sideview mirror. When cars had clear untinted glass it was not dangerous to drive close to the cars, except for the small possibility of children darting out from between the cars on residential streets.

    When I took up cycling again in the late seventies the first thing I noticed was the tinted windshields in cars, how it was now dangerous to cycle past parked cars, and how often the windows of cars were often so dark that I could not see the driver so as to know if he were aware of me or not. Had been using the bus system for some time. Tinted windows in cars decrease safety on the streets for cyclists.

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  • Lodel November 17, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    Why should he get a ticket for not changing his address on his driver’s license? He was not driving. If he presented his passport, which is a legal ID without an address, would he have still gotten a ticket?

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  • brodie November 18, 2008 at 12:36 am

    From what I gather, he was in his right to refuse to show his ID since he was not driving, but then the officer has the right to take him to the station to try and ascertain his identity. Since he DID give the cop his ID, he was handing him a government issued identification that he had not kept in legal order.
    Its a stupid law, but this sort of system is what you get when you live in a Federalist country that resists a national ID: you get stuck with the DMV issuing your de facto identification, whether you drive or not.

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  • Afro Biker November 18, 2008 at 6:33 am

    “I don’t think a cyclist should pass you 1 foot from you BUT be smart and think of the consequences: what happen if a cyclist at 12mph hit you car? what happen if a car at 25+ mph hit the cyclist? hmmm, don’t be stupid by telling me it doesn’t matter, a life vs a scratch DOES matter.”

    A guy on a bike hitting your car at 12 mph is more than a scratch. The biker more than likely would not have insurance, and not be willing to pay for the damage, and the motorist’s insurance is footing the bill. Is that fair?

    I’ve been biking in Portland for over 30 years and it’s getting harder every day with this new sense of entitlement and lawless attidude young people have when they are on two wheels.

    But everybody agrees Ainsworth needs work.

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  • Cecil November 18, 2008 at 7:18 am

    Matt P. said (#71) said:

    “Speed bumps (technically, the term is “speed hump” – I don’t know why)”

    A speed “bump” is a narrow, high ridge such as is often found in a parking lot and requires a driver to slow down significantly (say to about 5 mph) to avoid jarring or damage. A speed “hump” on the other hand, is a broad raised spot on the road that can comfortably be crossed at speeds up to about 25 mph.

    This and more such fascinating information can be found in Tom Vanderbilt’s book “Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)”

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  • Duncan November 18, 2008 at 7:56 am

    Whatever your feelings about a Policeman on the beat- the wise choice is to call the Community Liason Officer and discuss them, not try and talk to them while they are on the beat.

    I prefer to not be known by the local constabulary by sight. Jst a personal preference.

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  • Opus the Poet November 18, 2008 at 8:32 am

    Joe Rowe #126

    The main difference between police and parents is we pay police to find and catch people breaking the law, and give them the power of life and death in the process. Bad cops=bad enforcement of the law=bad outcomes with guilty people not prosecuted and innocent people harassed. Bad parents only harm their kids, they don’t place everybody else in jeopardy in the process. Also we don’t pay parents to raise kids anymore since welfare “reform” back in the 1990s.

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  • El Biciclero November 18, 2008 at 9:41 am


    The door thing happened to me just this morning–I didn’t get hit because I was already three feet away from the parked cars I was passing. Tinted windows made it impossible to see that someone was about to exit the vehicle.

    I’m lucky I live and ride in an area where the bike thing hasn’t caught on so much (Beaverton) so I don’t have to contend with excessive bike traffic. While it is commendable that you are thinking of other riders and being courteous (I wish more bikers had that attitude), I would consider my own safety over the convenience of people who might want to pass me. Better to slow someone down a little than to lose teeth, break a collar bone, get run over, or just have a messed up bike.

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  • Kronda November 18, 2008 at 10:45 am

    Chief Sizer,

    I’m writing to express my disgust at the blatant abuse of power by one of your officers this past Saturday.

    According to the witnesses, Officer Pryce proceeded to pass a cyclist in a completely unsafe manner, and then, when he didn’t like being criticized for his maneuver, found an excuse to give citations to two of the riders of the PSU cycling club.

    Perhaps Officer Pryce needs another lesson on what “Protect and Serve” actually means. For one, he should be an example of safe courteous driving, not one of the nut jobs on the road I have to worry about running into me while I’m riding down the road. He should be the one receiving a citation, for unsafe passing.

    I ride Ainsworth every day, and I take the lane on the section of road where this incident occurred precisely because I don’t trust the judgment of drivers like Pryce on when it is safe to pass. Most drivers have no problems waiting until there is a space free of parked cars, at which time I move over and let them by.

    If Pryce was in such a hurry, or on his way to an official crime scene, he could just as easily have flashed his lights and I’m sure the cyclist would have moved over as soon as practicable. Instead he has stolen unknown amounts of time and money from two innocent people, who will now have to focus on fighting completely bogus citations and hopefully, filing a formal complaint against him.

    At this writing there are 135 comments on the Bikeportland story and a disturbing number of them express the sentiment of “too bad, but that’s what happens if you piss off a cop.” I would say that’s a pretty serious PR problem, for an agency that is supposed to inspire feelings of safety. Having a badge does not make one exempt from following the law, or from being criticized for rude, dangerous behavior.

    What concerns me most about this incident though is that I fear this letter may be just so much useless shouting into the wind. Reading the comments on the Bikeportland story, there’s a general sense that the chance of any discipline for this officer is slim, even if the victims file a formal complaint.

    I hope you’ll prove me wrong.

    Kronda Adair
    North Portland

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  • joe November 18, 2008 at 10:51 am

    kronda, nice letter!

    please keep us posted on the follow up.

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  • Amy November 18, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    It would be interesting to hear the other side of the story.

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  • bean November 18, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    A great way to spend taxpayer money. Thanks PPD! Why don’t you go down the street and watch drug deals happening IN PLAIN SIGHT at the Safeway parking lot. Go fight some real crime.

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  • stephan November 18, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    I ride and drive NE Ainsworth very often, as I live on that street, there is enough room for a bike to be safely passed even where there are parked cars.
    I pass people when I drive and I get passed when I drive, I don’t gesturing at the officer served any other purpose than annoying him.

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  • matt picio November 18, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    Steven J (#77) – we are currently not required by the State of Oregon nor the feds to carry identification. However, certain agencies are empowered to detain you until they can verify your identity or your status as an American citizen.

    The Real ID Act passed by the feds sets minimum standards for state identification that all states must meet. Many view this legislation as a stepping stone to a national ID card, and/or a mandatory requirement to carry identification.

    Most likely, we will at some point have a law requiring people to carry ID, once a supermajority of citizens consider it “stupid” to not carry ID, and likely under the guise of identifying terrorists or lawbreakers or some such. Federal programs usually start as “optional”, then “mandatory for prisoners and the military”, and finally “mandatory for all citizens”. The process takes 5 – 40 years generally, and is successful in every instance where noncompliance is a much greater hassle than compliance.

    Tbird (#83) – Good luck on changing PPB hiring policies. Every police force in the state is understaffed, and they’re hiring anyone who isn’t grossly incompetent (having an agenda is not incompetence) or has a criminal record. Portland even waived the college degree requirement in order to access a larger applicant pool.

    A good way to get more cyclists on the force would be for some of us to become police officers. Anyone want to do that?

    Amplifying on El Biciclero’s (#109) comment – according to the State’s Bicycle Manual (http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/TS/docs/Bike/2006_Bicycle_Manual.pdf), page 6, “Ride far enough away from parked cars so you don’t risk being hit by an opening car door”. Note that it doesn’t say “so you aren’t hit” but “so you don’t RISK being hit” (emphasis added). That makes it clear that we are to regard car doors as an ever-present hazard.

    Moo (#110) – That isn’t limited to cops, it’s true for anyone in a position of authority and all employees of a bureaucracy. The easiest way to deal with authority is to remain unnoticed and go with the flow as much as possible. Unfortunately that route only perpetuates and strengthens the system, while simultaneously disempowering those who are unwilling to tolerate that same system.

    The more powerful and entrenched the system, the more damage that can be brought to bear on it against those who are noticed by it and viewed as a threat. The federal government is the most extreme example – the depth and breadth of power it can wield is almost unbelievable.

    Cecil (#132) – thanks for the info! And if the middle section of the “hump” is as long as a car, it’s called a “speed table” – I think we have a few of those in Portland, though I can’t recall where.

    kronda (#136) – Awesome! Way to go.

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  • encephalopath November 18, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    “speed table”

    N Albina at PCC Cascade

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  • Brian Schmautz November 18, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    I have read several of the postings in this current thread and would like to join this discussion with a few brief comments. The conclusions you are reaching about the incident described in the story are based on statements made by the individuals who encountered the officer. It is a one-sided version of the incident. I am personally aware of several prior stories on this website where it was eventually determined that the facts of an event differed dramatically from the original description of the event.

    I am also surprised by the vitriol of some of the individuals posting in the comment section. How many of the individuals posting have ever had direct contact with the officer involved in this event or for that matter, any police officer? Would you be willing to make such blanket and far-reaching conclusions about any other group of human beings?

    I personally believe that individuals learn about each other by a respectful dialogue. Opinions are changed and lessons are learned by finding points of mutual agreement and then working toward changing hearts and minds. It is difficult for officers to engage in a meaningful or productive dialogue when people are making such broadly sweeping, and in some cases, threatening statements.

    The final word on this incident will be by a Traffic Court judge who hears both sides of the story and applies the law to the facts provided. I believe it would be better to have someone hear both sides and report on them. This would allow the reader to draw informed conclusions rather than just venting in a way that does nothing to improve communication.

    Beginning with a premise that lacks factual complete information leads to uninformed decisions and does not improve the relationships required to create a safer society.

    Sergeant Brian Schmautz
    Public Information Officer
    Portland Police Bureau

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  • Velo Vanguard November 18, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    Schmautz- If you’ve got something to add about the incident from the PPB’s perspective, then you should just add it and stop casting aspertions on Jonathan’s reporting.

    And please spare us all the fake outrage about how the PPB’s good name is being dragged through the mud. I’ve had personal contact with your officers. Some of them are very pleaseant professionals and others are angry thugs, neo-Nazis, and liars and you know it.

    As far as I’m concerned, the PPB’s terrible reputation in the community it’s supposed to serve is well-deserved.
    If you’re surprised about the vitriol, it’s because you’re out of touch with your the PPB is viewed by the majority of Portlanders.

    “As far as not painting the whole department with the bad acts of a few officers I disagree. Hold them all accountable and maybe they will start holding one another accountable.” #86

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  • joe November 18, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    if Schmautz is an information officer then where is any information in his comment? if Schmautz’s job is to provide information, he should provide it.

    let’s keep writing the Chief. Obviously, it is working.

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  • Neversummer November 18, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    Officer Schmautz,

    Could you please speak to the basic rules of the road that are central to this case, without speaking directly about the case? You may have ascertained that it is not entirely clear to readers what the accepted behavior is in a situation similar to this. I believe it would help clarify the law and PPB’s expectations of cyclists. For example, when is a cyclist allowed to ride a safe distance from the right-side curb? What is a safe distance?

    Your thoughts are appreciated.


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  • Mike November 18, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    The officer passed the riders then cited them for impeding traffic? Does that not indicate the officer wasn’t really all that impeded?

    Brian- What is your take on passing the rider only to then stop them?

    It seems to me that the logical thing to do would be to pull over the cyclists when they are in front of you (you know, kinda like they were traffic). I imagine it is rare when a cop speeds past a speeder, only to slow down and then pull over the law breaker. Seems a little suspicious, maybe?

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  • Argentius November 18, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    A bit of a repeat from the previous post, but this part disgusts me more and more, the more that I think of it.

    How is it possible for bicycles to “impede the flow of traffic” on a narrow, 25mph residential street that is a DESIGNATED BIKE ROUTE. Isn’t that THE ENTIRE POINT?

    I likewise do not understand how it’s reasonable to cite someone for failure to update the information on a piece of identification that one is not required to have…

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  • Kronda November 18, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    Officer Schmautz (144),

    As far as I’m aware, this site is open for commenting by anyone. Officer Pryce is welcome to post his side of the story. I’d sure love to hear it. If he did, I’m sure Jonathan would probably call attention to it with a front page story, as he did with your comments.

    I’m all ears.

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  • JT in the Army November 18, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    Seems there’s some wiggle-room to make the street safer for bicyclists if the city wants. Take a foot off either the median strip or property edges. I haven’t looked at the new bicycle master plan to see if anything on Ainsworth is included.

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  • joe December 17, 2008 at 7:01 am

    any update on how this played out in traffic court?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) December 17, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    hey Joe,
    thanks for asking.

    the date i referred to in the story was just their “not guilty” plea. nothing exciting.

    Peter Welte says they’re now awaiting a letter in the mail with the date for their actual trial. stay tuned…

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  • GJB December 23, 2008 at 10:51 am

    When can we start citing cops? As it almost sounds like the officer violated ORS 811.065.

    As for the bicyclist, just take the damn lane already, you’re going to get yourself killed letting cars get that close to you.

    Personally, I have a rear-facing video camera always running on my bike…I’m just waiting to be stopped by yet-another ill-informed cop.

    ORS says 814.430:
    (2) A person is not in violation of the offense under this section if the person is not operating a bicycle as close as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway under any of the following circumstances:

    When reasonably necessary to…avoid unsafe operation in a lane on the roadway that is too narrow for a bicycle and vehicle to travel safely side by side


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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) December 23, 2008 at 10:55 am

    Just FYI, I’ve just published a follow-up to this story.

    Lawyer in Ainsworth Incident pressures leaders to seek dismissal of citations

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