Bike back to life: Family of road rage victim asks for help

Posted by on April 1st, 2010 at 10:21 am

Mike Luther and his grandson, Lucas.
(Photo: Family of Mike Luther)

Last August, Portlander Mike Luther was intentionally run over by a car driven by a man incensed with road rage. Luther survived, but he and his family have suffered ever since. The road to recovery has been difficult because Luther is still unable to work due to his injuries and a series of legal delays have prevented him from getting restitution.

Luther’s sister, Tracey Brown, got in touch with me recently in hopes that the community that offered him so much support immediately following the incident might still be able to help.

“Bike Portland was very good to my family,” Brown wrote, “We’re so lucky that Mike is alive, and such a good soul.” But Brown says their mood has been dampened because the criminal case against the man that hit Luther has just been delayed again for another 12-18 months. That delay means her brother hasn’t received any restitution for the serious brain injury he suffered. Brown and the rest of Luther’s family says they’re also worried that the driver is “still out there driving with a vengeance against bicyclists.”

Brown says since the incident her brother has “lost most of the things that made him smile — including his bike which was destroyed in the accident.”

“Mike would really benefit from being back on a bike. Nothing fancy, just a means of getting around Portland – seeing friends and family… Mike needs to be alive again.”
— Tracey Brown, Mike Luther’s sister

Brown, one of Luther’s three sisters, is convinced that if her brother can get back on a bike, it’ll lift his spirits. She’s in California, but hopes that someone in Portland can lend a hand.

“Mike would really benefit from being back on a bike. Nothing fancy, just a means of getting around Portland – seeing friends and family… Mike needs to be alive again – back on a bike, and maybe a way to be important again – volunteering for your local events, talking to kids about wearing a helmet, at schools maybe? Something small – a way back to life.”

What do you think folks? Can anyone out there lend a hand? If you’d like to connect with Tracey about a bike for Mike and other ways he might be able to get involved with the community, please get in touch and I’ll forward your information to her.

Please support BikePortland.

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. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

22 Comments
  • Avatar
    Opus the Poet April 1, 2010 at 10:48 am

    I have a spare bike, but no way to get it to Portland. I think someone local has one they aren’t using any more that would like a new home and the dignity of being ridden regularly.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Vance Longwell April 1, 2010 at 10:51 am

    What is Mr. Luther’s inseam measurement? Does he have any physical limitations regarding the operation of an ordinary bicycle? Having good info here could aid those of us with spare bikes to peruse our ‘inventories’ for something that may work for Mr. Luther.

    Side note: For Pete’s sake leave kids alone. They’re simply too young to be able to exercise the judgment necessary to properly weigh the pros and cons of helmet use. Put a helmet on your kid or don’t, you’re the parent. But stop with the F.U.D. campaign because you do us all a disservice by creating adults with poor judgment skills; and instead leave us with rule-nazi-hall-monitor-types that are about to catapult us all into armed conflict.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Schrauf April 1, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Vance, somewhat agree, a little, but that was a quote from the victim’s sister, not Jonathan.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    wsbob April 1, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Sure, specs, in terms of what Mike Luther needs to actually fit on and use a bike would seem to be helpful.

    Why is the case against the driver that road-raged Mike Luther getting delayed 12-18 months? I hope this extended time has been arranged for Luther’s benefit, and not simply because the driver’s lawyer needs it to develop a way to allow his client to escape responsibility for what he’s done.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Erinne April 1, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    I’m sure you meant “it’ll lift his spirits,” paragraph 5, right?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Marcus Griffith April 1, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    This might be an issue for the legal professionals. I am not expert on Oregon law, but there are laws in place in both Oregon and Washington to keep insurance companies processing claims in a timely manner. No-Fault and Personal Injury Protection laws should have paid out immediate medical bills and loss of wages (up to a certain amount). Property damage restitution for the bike and accessories should not have taken more than 30 days to process.
    Insurance practice laws prevent insurance companies from withholding payouts as a means to force a settlement.
    For reference:
    Washington State Insurance Commission
    http://www.insurance.wa.gov/
    Oregon State Insurance Commission
    http://insurance.oregon.gov/

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    M April 1, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    #6 – I can’t speak to the specifics in this situation, but in Oregon the minimum personal injury protection (PIP) for automobile policies is only $15,000. Sadly, this can become quickly exhausted especially if there is even a moderate amount of personal medical care. Add to this that PIP coverage only lasts for one year from the date of the accident.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Charley April 1, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    I’ve got a two year old Trek 7.2 hybrid that I’m not using anymore. I’m about 6 feet tall and the bike fits me. If he’s interested, it’s a real reliable bike, and super useful, comes with a rack, and there’s room for fenders. I paid $400 for it new, two years ago. He can have it, if he wants it.
    Charley Reneau

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Vance Longwell April 1, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    Schrauf #3 – Duly noted and I re-read my comment. I fail to see that it’s directed at anybody personally. I also realize the source of the comment was not Mr. Maus. Perhaps you’ve misread it?

    Charley #8 – Way to step to the plate sir/ma’am. Maybe there’s a way to umbrella a donation like that under somebody’s non-profit? I’m sans tools right now but chock full of expertise and ready to lend a hand getting something road-worthy. I might also be sporadically available for assist-rides until the wobbles get worked out of Mr. Luther’s couch-legs! 🙂

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Grand Master April 1, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    Charly #8 – If the bike needs a tune-up and Mike can use it, Bike Temple would be happy to offer a “bicycle healing” (er, tune-up)

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Mimi April 1, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Wow, Jonathan and BikePortland come through again!

    Briefly, let me answer a few questions you all have posed.

    For offers of help (bike, helmet, assistance, other donations), please do go through Jonathan, and my sister Tracey will coordinate. We’ll get Mike’s specs to Jonathan this weekend. Thank you – endless thanks – for so many offers already. For those who want and are able to help financially, there is still an account open at U.S. Bank: Mike Luther fund. Mike is living alone, with no income at all; he survives through what we are able to give him, food boxes, and bottle returns.

    The criminal trial was delayed because the judge in the case made a ruling that the DA is appealing. That particular issue will be heard in 9-18 months. Then the criminal trial will begin again. We all need to be cautious about what is said as the criminal and then civil case is all still pending. Anything said in public venues, as they say, can and will likely be used against Mike in those proceedings. Any formal press requests we will refer to Mike’s laywer, Jim Coon at http://www.stc-law.com/

    Mike, I know, is grateful for the support he’s received from this broader community. On his behalf, and that of those who adore him, thank you so very much.

    He’s doing so much better than anyone of us ever dreamed. Everyone thought he would die that awful night; everyone is amazed that he didn’t – including the homicide detectives assigned to the case. But, he still has such a long way to go before we’ll know what his future holds. It has been seven months; the doctors tell us we need at least 18 to know what Mike’s permanent condition will be. We’re simply grateful he’s alive, grateful for the support of BikePortland!

    Mimi Luther

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Eileen April 2, 2010 at 1:20 am

    Vance, you’re argument makes no sense. You don’t want to educate kids because they don’t have common sense and you fear that providing them with an education will cause them to grow up to be adults without any common sense?

    Kids grow up to not have common sense when adults make all the decisions for them as kids. Especially when adults make those decisions without giving the kids input or explanation. Kids become accustomed to not have to think. Some rules, like wearing a helmet, are non-negotiable. But if you take the time to explain why it’s important, the kids will feel more intrinsically motivated to actually wear it, even when the adults aren’t looking. When rules feel arbitrary, kids think they just have to make sure they don’t get caught.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    wsbob April 2, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Mimi…thanks for explaining why the case is being delayed. 9-18 months is a long time to have to wait to start resolving the issues in this case, but it sounds as if the DA is on them and doing what needs to be done. Healing is a great thing. I’m glad to hear it’s otherwise rapidly coming your brother’s way.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • […] in which the arresting officer was caught lying under oath. Portland cyclists are asked to help get a road rage victim back on a bike. The New York Times asks what is bike culture? A Brooklyn cyclist cited for riding […]

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Anon April 2, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    Re: Marcus # 6 “but there are laws in place in both Oregon and Washington to keep insurance companies processing claims in a timely manner. No-Fault and Personal Injury Protection laws should have paid out immediate medical bills and loss of wages (up to a certain amount).” This is true. However, it is largely dependent upon the insurance of the person who hit him (assuming he had insurance). If it were only liability the PIP is merely 20-25 thousand and this goes fast.Any wage loss compensation would be negligent at best. Unfortunately, when I was struck by a car last year, my medical expenses have reached nearly $70,000 with total insurance compensation at $25,000. Of this, my attorney kept about $6,000, (granted he was an awful attorney and I would love to share his name so others can avoid him). There remains a huge difference which comes out of my pocket.This man clearly needs assistance if only to help him get back on a bike. I would suggest that assumptions regarding insurance be largely dismissed.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Cruizer April 3, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Charley, Vance, and Grand Master,
    You are all awesome to step up like that!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Vance Longwell April 4, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    Eileen #12 – Telling a kid to wear a helmet because it will make them safer, presumably the case with these types of ‘programs’ is not education. Helmets don’t make one safer per se and have minimal benefits. Limited mostly to cuts and abrasions, and very, very, very, very mild concussions. They impair vision and decrease range of motion both of which increase the likelihood of an accident. Furthermore bicycle helmets have broken my neck. Twice.

    To educate a child, or anyone for that matter, both sides of this equation must be presented. However most people are ignorant of the negative effects of bicycle helmet use and only present the benefits. This is a fairly sophisticated argument for a kid. One in which they could gain valuable decision making skills. But instead they will simply be told, “It’s safe so do it.”, and, as I already stated, this is a disservice to us all.

    I made my comment about helmet use as a side note. The rest of my comment is on-topic and I only mentioned helmets in the first place because it’s mentioned in the article. You, however, have spoken to absolutely nothing in the article, and frankly, it’s a bit distracting. Let’s stay focused on Mr. Luther and what we might be able to do for him.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Joe April 5, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    great to see people pulling together! yes Bike Portland is a great place providing support for those in need!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Charley April 6, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    I haven’t heard from anyone. The offer still stands, though. I’d like to hear from someone one way or the other, because I had been planning to sell the bike to a friend, and would like to get on with it.
    Thanks,
    Charley

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Mimi April 6, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    Hi Charley…I’m sorry to have not responded sooner. Mike’s 5’9″, what do you think? Would that work? It looks like we MIGHT be getting a bike donated by a national distributor, but it’s not for sure yet. I’d hate for you to lose out on money you could get if you sell it.

    We’ve had some really great offers of help for Mike from folks reading this. A new bike, accessories for the bike, chiropractic care and acupuncture. Mike’s excited about it all.

    Sounds like the criminal trial is back on the docket for mid-May.

    Mimi

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Charley April 6, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    Mimi,
    I’m 5’10, and the bike fits me fine. He’d need to lower the seat a little. If Mike can get a new bike that’s exactly what he would want to get, then he should go with that option. Of course, if it doesn’t work out, please let me know, because I’d be more than happy to help out. There’s no rush!
    Charley

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Mimi Luther April 8, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    News flash – we just found out that on 3/22 the guy who ran over Mike violated his release agreements and was re-arrested and booked at Multnomah County jail, where he remains; $500,000 bail. I do not yet know the nature of or charges in this incident. Trial is now being expedited and is scheduled (tentatively) for 5/19.

    Mimi

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar