Breaking: Man hit by police car while riding downtown

At about 6:15 a.m. this morning, Portlander John Mayer was riding up on the intersection of SW 10th and Jefferson when he noticed a Portland Police Bureau patrol car parked in the bike lane.

When Mayer pulled around the patrol car, he says the officer driving the car pulled out into the lane and ran into him, “without signaling or looking”. The impact knocked Mayer down, but he did not sustain any serious injuries. Mayer posted a message to the Shift email list a few minutes ago seeking advice on how to handle the situation.

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In the email, he wrote that the he and the car were not moving fast so the damage is minimal, then added, “but the principle is important”.

Not only did the police officer pull out and hit Mayer, but Mayer also alleges that the officer then “proceeded to threaten me with a ticket for not being in the bike lane!” Mayer refused to give the officer his identification and his name, immediately wrote down his badge and car number, then headed to the doctor to get his leg bruises examined.

According to Mayer, the officer then returned to his car, turned on his siren, and drove way, never inquiring about the extent of his injuries.

“I’d like to pursue something,” wrote Mayer, “What do I do?”

Mayer plans on filing a formal complaint with the police bureau later this afternoon. We’ll keep you posted on any developments.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Jeff P
Jeff P
15 years ago

Totally conjecture but my first thought was – “Hmmm, siren. Already has his excuses in order.”

That type of thinking probably is not appropriate.

Glad there were no injuries. Hopefully the resolution will be fair and even handed for the result.

D
D
15 years ago

weird….i wasn’t aware you could get a ticket for riding in lanes you’re legally welcome to occupy…..i thought cops were supposed to know laws?

Perry
Perry
15 years ago

“Mayer refused to give the officer his identification and his name” – why? He’d just been a party to a collision!

Idegen
Idegen
15 years ago

Portland’s finest..

Miss Ena
Miss Ena
15 years ago

What the hell was John supposed to do? Sit in the bike lane until the cop left it?

He should have said, “With all due respect, sir, why is your car in the bike lane?”

Then, the cop does not look or signal…if I did that, it would be called ‘breaking the law’, but I guess some police think they are above the law.

I respect the work they do, but the police that feel the law does not apply to them need to be excused from the force.

This attitude may lead to stepping on a guy’s face and putting a taser on him for not having a bike headlight.

K'Tesh
K'Tesh
15 years ago

Go to the BTA right NOW! Pick up the little red booklet on issuing a citizens initiated citation and follow the instructions.

Do this NOW!

ScottG
ScottG
15 years ago

Not cool. I’m most curious about the cop’s unwillingness to identify himself. I find it especially ironic because law enforcement tends to have the attitude of “what do you have to hide?” anytime someone tries to exercise their civil rights.

K'Tesh
K'Tesh
15 years ago

If you sought medical attention, then I think you have a Hit and Run situation

PoPo
PoPo
15 years ago

He should definitely file a formal complaint.

DJ Hurricane
DJ Hurricane
15 years ago

To hell with the citizen-initiated citation, this is felony hit-and-run.

John should just be happy he didn’t end up like James Chasse because there is obviously no accountability for PPB officers. In this town, they are above the law.

Perry
Perry
15 years ago

Ah…I see now. (from the e-mail list posting) “SO I refused to give him ID and he refused to give me his name. I instead wrote down his badge and car numbers and am headed to the doctor to get my bruises documented.”

So, there was a mutual refusal to swap identification. Odd that the cop did not try to arrest Mr. Mayer when he refused to provide ID. If I collided a cop car with my pickup and failed to ID myself (no matter who was at fault), I’d be kissing the hood of the patrol car, wouldn’t I?

nahbois
nahbois
15 years ago

He should have called the “police” to report the accident, I believe, since the beginning of ’08, they are required to at least file an accident report for every car/bike accident where injury resulted.

It would have been interesting to hear the dispatch of police to police.

velo
velo
15 years ago

Get a lawyer, most importantly get a lawyer. Someone who has legal training is the right person to help you.

File a formal complaint. Do it with a lawyer if possible.

And finally – call the media, nothing like a little press to focus the attention of the powers that be.

This sounds like the sort of situation that could have easily been dealt with had the cop been willing to play nice. Thanks PPB! What might have been an honest mistake had to turn ugly.

beth h
15 years ago

Second # 13. Call a lawyer before you do anything else. While you’re at it, take some photos tonight and again in a day or two of all your bruises (some may not show up for a day or two). Keep documentation of everything, and write down the sequence of events NOW so you will have a record.

Good luck. Dealing with this sort of thing is never fun.

encephalopath
encephalopath
15 years ago

Why weren’t you in bike lane?

ORS 814.420 section 3

peejay
peejay
15 years ago

Perry:

Are you being facetious? Or just simpleminded?

I would refuse to give any personal information to an officer if that officer had just shown a criminal disregard for my safety, and an intent to make a false arrest.

Many avenues to pursue:

1) I believe it’s against policy to use flashing police lights unless responding to a call. The dispatcher should have a record if that car was indeed responding at the time to a legitimate call;

2) felony hit-and-run? Not sure of the threshold of damage. If there is the likelihood that Mr. Mayer was indeed injured and the officer was aware of it, then that is a possibility;

3) no matter what, there is no requirement to remain in a bicycle lane if that lane is obstructed. The officer does have a right to be in that lane, however, under certain circumstances.

peejay
peejay
15 years ago

By the way, I refused to communicate with an officer once, when I had recognized that he was not behaving rationally. He must have known it, too, because he didn’t bust me.

DJ Hurricane
DJ Hurricane
15 years ago

Peejay, you may be right about the felony. I’m not sure what level of injury is required. But here’s the statute:

811.705 Failure to perform duties of driver to injured persons; penalty. (1) A person commits the offense of failure to perform the duties of a driver to injured persons if the person is the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident that results in injury or death to any person and does not do all of the following:

(a) Immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close thereto as possible. Every stop required under this paragraph shall be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary.

(b) Remain at the scene of the accident until the driver has fulfilled all of the requirements under this subsection.

(c) Give to the other driver or surviving passenger or any person not a passenger who is injured as a result of the accident the name and address of the driver and the registration number of the vehicle that the driver is driving and the name and address of any other occupants of the vehicle.

(d) Upon request and if available, exhibit and give to the persons injured or to the occupant of or person attending any vehicle damaged the number of any document issued as official evidence of a grant of driving privileges.

(e) Render to any person injured in the accident reasonable assistance, including the conveying or the making of arrangements for the conveying of such person to a physician, surgeon or hospital for medical or surgical treatment, if it is apparent that such treatment is necessary or if such conveying is requested by any injured person.

(f) Remain at the scene of an accident until a police officer has arrived and has received the required information, if all persons required to be given information under paragraph (c) of this subsection are killed in the accident or are unconscious or otherwise incapable of receiving the information. The requirement of this paragraph to remain at the scene of an accident until a police officer arrives does not apply to a driver who needs immediate medical care, who needs to leave the scene in order to secure medical care for another person injured in the accident or who needs to leave the scene in order to report the accident to the authorities, so long as the driver who leaves takes reasonable steps to return to the scene or to contact the nearest police agency.

(2)(a) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (b) of this subsection, the offense described in this section, failure to perform the duties of a driver to injured persons, is a Class C felony and is applicable on any premises open to the public.

(b) Failure to perform the duties of a driver to injured persons is a Class B felony if a person suffers serious physical injury as defined in ORS 161.015 or dies as a result of the accident. [1983 c.338 §573; 1993 c.621 §1; 2001 c.919 §1]

DJ Hurricane
DJ Hurricane
15 years ago

And here’s a crime (misdemeanor) that applies even without any injury if there was damage to John’s clothes or bike:

811.700 Failure to perform duties of driver when property is damaged; penalty. (1) A person commits the offense of failure to perform the duties of a driver when property is damaged if the person is the driver of any vehicle and the person does not perform duties required under any of the following:

(a) If the person is the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident that results only in damage to a vehicle that is driven or attended by any other person the person must perform all of the following duties:

(A) Immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close thereto as possible. Every stop required under this subparagraph shall be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary.

(B) Remain at the scene of the accident until the driver has fulfilled all of the requirements under this paragraph.

(C) Give to the other driver or passenger the name and address of the driver and the registration number of the vehicle that the driver is driving and the name and address of any other occupants of the vehicle.

(D) Upon request and if available, exhibit and give to the occupant of or person attending any vehicle damaged the number of any documents issued as evidence of driving privileges granted to the driver.

(b) If the person is the driver of any vehicle that collides with any vehicle that is unattended, the person shall immediately stop and:

(A) Locate and notify the operator or owner of the vehicle of the name and address of the driver and owner of the vehicle striking the unattended vehicle; or

(B) Leave in a conspicuous place in the vehicle struck a written notice giving the name and address of the driver and of the owner of the vehicle doing the striking and a statement of the circumstances thereof.

(c) If the person is the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to fixtures or property legally upon or adjacent to a highway, the person shall do all of the following:

(A) Take reasonable steps to notify the owner or person in charge of the property of such fact and of the driver’s name and address and of the registration number of the vehicle the driver is driving.

(B) Upon request and if available, exhibit any document issued as official evidence of a grant of driving privileges to the driver.

(2) The offense described in this section, failure to perform the duties of a driver when property is damaged, is a Class A misdemeanor and is applicable on any premises open to the public. [1983 c.338 §572]

Patrick Valdez
15 years ago

I’d have to say that because it was a cop who struck him there is not much he can do. File a complaint? It’ll get buried and nothing will come of it.

Remember, this is the police, they answer to no man.

Seager
Seager
15 years ago

Related to the bike lane use, the law is you stay in the bike lane (if one exists) except when:

“Overtaking and passing another bicycle, a vehicle or pedestrian that is in the bicycle lane or path and passage cannot safely be made in the lane or path.

Or left turns, debris, hazardous road conditions, right turns, etc.

I’d say the cop needs to read the laws.
(814.420)

buglas
buglas
15 years ago

A view from out of town…
First of all, I am glad that John Mayer’s injuries were such that he can consider them secondary to the idea that, “the principle is important.”
Secondly in his new role over Traffic, Captain Hendricks has been handed an early opportunity to set a tone.
Let’s all hope for an ultimately positive outcome as with Officer Pryce and the Anisworth incident.
Stepping back to the sidelines now…

Russell
Russell
15 years ago

I do not know whether it is possible, but perhaps canvassing local business to see if they have security cameras might be worthwhile? You’d need a lawyer involved, but that’s definitely a time sensitive activity, as many businesses only keep a few days worth of footage on hand.

slort
slort
15 years ago

Why wasn’t John Mayer playing his cheesy songs somewhere? That butt pimple has no business riding bikes when he’s got Ms. Aniston to worry about!

Sorry couldn’t resist.

I hope Mr. Mayer gets some good legal counsel and the outcome serves the betterment on the community.

Residentevil
Residentevil
15 years ago

I am with Russell. Sick ’em

steve
steve
15 years ago

The cop could have killed you and there is still a chance nothing would be done to reprimand him.

Good luck with your complaint. You will need it.

Joe Rowe
Joe Rowe
15 years ago

I wonder if the facts are reported correctly?

“Mayer (injured cyclist) refused to give the officer his identification and his name”

Well I default to total sympathy for the cyclist who upon being struck may have had a hard time thinking straight.

Best advice now is to call a lawyer ASAP. Call Mark Ginsberg or Ray Thomas, they will find you another lawyer if they are too swamped.

Best guess ( being that I’m not a lawyer nor is this advice ) for next time: Give out your name. This is optional. Oregon is a state with many freedoms and we have no stop and identify law. People tried to pass one back in 2004.

Next time, After I feel on the ground I’d ask for a witness to stand near me as someone dials 911 on someone’s cell phone. While that call is being started I’d ask the officer… “did I hear that you wanted to give me some type of citation” and if repeated, remind the officer of what was said with witness present and 911 recording.

THe law on bike lanes gives the cyclist the ability to leave the bike lane for many reasons, including safety or an obstruction, both, etc etc. The cop was ignorant or spewing BS. Any good lawyer is going to look for a court case involving this cop and bike lanes and find out exactly what is on record from this cop, if he is on record for knowing the law he should be fired or more severely reprimanded for a threat to cite you when the cop knew you were innocent.

Please keep the crowd updated on this thread. I’m subscribed to comments.

Finally, give the cop some love, anyone makes mistakes and he/she was most likely a bit freaked out, and cops have a lot of mental trauma. If we paid them more we might get better quality if we also had a real IPR at the same time. We have no idea of what really happened. Give the cop the benefit of the doubt, just as you would expect if you messed up and were at fault for riding your bike into a cop car.

A list of states that do/don’t have a law forcing people to identify to police.

http://www.nvsupremecourt.us/info/news/index.php?contentID=52

http://www.lawcollective.org/article.php?id=205

http://www.lawcollective.org/article.php?id=39

007
007
15 years ago

Get a lawyer and demand a written apology and compensation.
I swear, cops are the most dangerous drivers out there and unapologetic when they nearly kill ya.

TonyT
tonyt
15 years ago

Buglas, #22,

You said, “Let’s all hope for an ultimately positive outcome as with Officer Pryce and the Anisworth incident.”

Positive in what way? That a cop was driving dangerously and then proceeded to write retaliatory tickets when called out on it? Even wrote a ticket to one of the cyclists who simply took pictures of the scene?

What was positive about the outcome of this? That there was some lame letter about people handling themselves better? It was a crock.

The cop didn’t know the law, drove dangerously, used his power vindictively and was in general, a bully.

Let’s hope that this situation does NOT result in a similarly lame outcome. Let’s see some freakin’ consequences land on the shoulders of cops for once.

John Mayer
John Mayer
15 years ago

Hi All,
Thanks for the great support and myriad of ideas. I really appreciate being part of such a community. I also definately recognize my privledge here as a young, white, man on his way to work in my not ending up in the back of a car…There’s a principle for you. As an update, I’m moving fine this morning and pursuing some preliminary options. Luckily, the injuries are negligable (maybe it’s because my body is a wonderland?).

I’ll be back in touch if publicity is what this ends up needing to get resolutions. For now, be safe and don’t assume they see you…
j

buglas
buglas
15 years ago

tonyt #29,

I’m in Corvallis so I usually only comment on broad cycling topics rather than jumping in on Portland specific matters. Now that I’ve declared myself as largely unqualified to speak on this one, let me insert the other foot.

In the Ainsworth settlement, it is well publicised that, “The Police Bureau will address this problem by producing a training video for all patrol officers and hopes members of our community who frequently ride bicycles will help the Traffic and Training Divisions with the presentation.” The Bureau is now accountable for carrying this forward. All officers will get this training and be accountable for its content. I’d call that a positive outcome. Hasn’t happened yet, so now the world gets to watch to see how well Captain Hendricks handles his new job.
I have family in Portland and soon I expect to bring a bike along on a visit and spend a day doing some Platinum riding. I’m hoping I’ll be able to view the PPB with respect rather than worry by then.

matt picio
15 years ago

Joe Rowe (#27) – I likewise have total sympathy for the cyclist, and having been in a recent collision while on my bike, agree that it’s hard to keep a clear head immediately afterward.

That said, if my understanding of the law is correct, one is required to give one’s name to a police officer when they ask – but there is no legal requirement to show ID documentation. Also, according to the statute that DJ Hurricane quotes (post #18), one is required to exchange one’s name and address with any vehicle operator in the case of a collision.

buglas (#31) – Which begs the question, has the training video been produced yet? (and if not, when can we expect it to be?) If so, has this officer seen it?

General comment – I think that in most cases, police officers and Tri-Met operators (you’ll understand momentarily why I’m mentioning Tri-Met) are law-abiding, reasonable human beings just trying to do a job and interacting fine with their fellow citizens. Some, however, abuse their power, ignore the law, and are largely shielded by a culture of silence and protectionism. In the case of the police, it’s due to the requirement of backing up one’s partner, because your lives depend on it. In Tri-Met’s case, it’s to limit the liability in legal cases. Both organizations have special laws regarding traffic that allow them to have priority of movement, and in both organizations power can be used to intimidate others – with the police, it’s authority, with Tri-Met, it’s operating the largest, most dangerous vehicle on the roads, in an environment filled with distractions. In both cases, the employee is paid less than they’re worth, work long hours, odd shifts, and are forced to deal with segments of the public the rest of us can choose to avoid. Maybe that breeds a sense of entitlement in some, I don’t know.

What I do know is that we need to hold accountable those who do abuse the system while acknowledging the value of the majority of those in the profession who do their job admirably, else eventually the power-abusing minority may become the rule rather than the exception.

John Mayer – Good luck with your case!

Efren
Efren
15 years ago

I have begun to feel aggressive about cars and people/drivers in general. There seems to be no regard for people in bicycles. Is there an anger management group out there that I can contact before I go postal? Not very serious, but just asking!

One Less :(
One Less :(
15 years ago

nahbois @ #12 – You are absolutely correct. Neither John nor the officer should have left the scene without exchanging information. John needs to get an attorney, file an accident report, and contact the media. What a barn burner that will be….”cop leaves scene of accident after threatening ticket.”

Perry
Perry
15 years ago

Peejay (#16), no, I don’t believe I’m simpleminded, but give me some time to think deeply about it, and I’ll get back to you.

I asked the question because Jonathan’s account left out part of the alleged facts (that the officer also refused to provide ID). I noted in post #11 (after I found and read Mr. Mayer’s account) that that was odd that the officer accepted John’s refusal to provide ID. Especially since, although Oregon does not have a stop and identify law, subsection C of OR 811.700 (DJ Hurricane #19) is pretty clear that both parties must exchange information after a vehicular collision. Perhaps there was a good reason he (the officer) did not want the incident on the record? I don’t know, I wasn’t there.

Joe Rowe (#27) has it exactly right on a few counts. John Mayer needs to talk with a lawyer if he really does feel he’s in the right. Meantime, would it be inappropriate to name the officer involved? Perhaps some of the people here have had a similar experience with him?

k.
k.
15 years ago

John’s probably lucky he wasn’t tazered upon refusing to present identification. That being said he should still file a complaint. Not that he will get much satisfaction as it will most likely get buried. But he should still go through the motions to establish a record of doing so. He should also take his concerns to the City Commissioners, specifically Dan Saltzman’s office as the Police Bureau is in his portfolio. Good luck to him. Most police are a-holes under such circumstances.

bike militia
bike militia
15 years ago

lets have that badge number & name please! the people have a right to know which cops are hit & run drivers, don’t we?

TonyT
tonyt
15 years ago

Buglas,

I don’t think you stuck your foot in your mouth. I think we just define positive outcomes differently. And perhaps my experiences with members of the PPB have left me more than a little cynical.

In the Ainsworth incident, I see an officer who grossly abused his power and got off with nothing. The encounter was treated as if both parties were equally guilty when nothing was presented that would indicate such.

Perhaps the educational video will do something, but I doubt it. It’s the horse led to water thing.

We can’t hope to see changes until we get effective civilian oversight and witness actual punative measures taken against officers who not only break the law, but behave inappropriately.

My heart goes out to the good members of the PPB like PoPo and I think it was Sgt. Lad who apparently handled to enforcement on Clinton with grace and professionalism. They suffer for the behavior of their peers. Perhaps those good apples can make headway in convincing others in the PPB that in the long run such behavior works against all of them, creating the kind of ill will, that I for one would much rather not have.

arcellus
arcellus
15 years ago

I fully agree with 007 – cops are far and away the most dangerous drivers on the road, and bus drivers are a close second. I do my best to stay far away from both.

John, I think you’re going to find a wealth of support here, and I’m glad to hear that your injuries are (so far) minor.

Dave
Dave
15 years ago

Doughnuts on the brain?

Joe Rowe
Joe Rowe
15 years ago

Thanks Matt P. You’re correct. I gave incomplete advice. Being on a bike or in a vehicle does mean you are required to give your name to a cop who asks. You can refuse to give your name on the spot and that means they can haul you in.

Here is some great advice from the ACLU.
http://www.aclu.org/police/gen/14528res20040730.html

I will repeat my one point that was correct. Oregon does not have a stop and identify law regarding pedestrians. Democrats in 2005 tried to cut into privacy in 2005.

http://www.portlandmercury.com/news/in_other_news_/Content?oid=33205

“Democrat Jeff Barker is also contributing to this clampdown with a proposed “Stop and Identify” law. Under H.B. 2390, it would be a crime to not identify one’s self when asked by the police. The penalties for refusing may be as severe as 30-day imprisonment or a $1,000-plus fine.”

Mike
Mike
15 years ago

John #30-
That was great. Sorry about you and Jen.

Vance Longwell
15 years ago

Curious. Was this an actual, bona-fide, Portland Police Officer or one of the PBA’s Pinkertonmen? Don’t forget that the PBA hired their own cops last summer. I’d make darn sure the officer that hit you was a cop because if they weren’t it may significantly impact any effort to seek justice.

DJ Hurricane
DJ Hurricane
15 years ago

It is also a violation of PPB policy for an officer not to provide his/her name and id number when asked.

Argentius
15 years ago

Ouch, John, I’m glad you’re okay, and I hope your refusal to identify yourself doesn’t hurt whatever case you have in the future.

Overall this sounds like a thankfully minor incident that could have been far, far worse, and I’m glad you’re okay.

I’m confounded as to how this exchanage may have gone, it seems almost comical (sorry, John!) to imagine:

“What’s your name?”

“No, what’s YOURS?”

“I won’t tell you unless you tell me first.”

“Well, I won’t tell YOU unless you tell ME first!”

And so forth…

Finally, you are right, you are fortunate that this did not end as badly for you as it might’ve for others in your position!

middle of the road guy
middle of the road guy
15 years ago

We are assuming that the cyclist is telling the truth.

Quite often, motorist’s statements are not given the same benefit of the doubt.