Splendid Cycles

TriMet releases video of Hawthorne ‘squeeze’ incident

Posted by on June 17th, 2010 at 1:14 pm

This frame from onboard camera
shows Sebastian Case on the sidewalk.
-Watch video below-

TriMet has released the onboard video from a collision between a bus and a bike that happened on SE Hawthorne earlier this week.

The video clearly shows Sebastian Case — who was featured in an Oregonian story about the incident — riding his bike on the sidewalk east of SE 12th about four seconds prior to the collision. Case then enters the roadway after the bus had already begun passing him. He then tries, unsuccessfully, to squeeze between the bus and a parked van.

The footage contradicts what Case told The Oregonian about the crash:

“As he continued east along Hawthorne, Case said he could hear the bus approaching behind him.

“I knew the bus was close behind me,” he said. “But not that close.'”

TriMet Communications Director Mary Fetsch says two witnesses who filled out comment cards after the incident confirm what is seen in the video. One witness, Barry T. said Case, “came off sidewalk fast tried to fit in between cars and bus” and another, Tami A., said, “I saw bicyclist go off sidewalk and try to maneuver between bus and vehicle.”

Watch the video below (it begins at corner of SE Hawthorne and 12th next to Burgerville (At :27 you see the case riding on the sidewalk. Watch for a blue van at about :33, that’s the van Case tried to squeeze by.)

Unless I’m seeing this wrong, it looks like a clear case where the person on the bike made a very poor decision. As we noted on our original story, the lanes on SE Hawthorne in this location are narrower than a TriMet bus. Please use caution when riding there. As this video shows, taking the full lane is more advisable than trying to squeeze by.

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 β€” Jonathan

  • Loving the Bike June 17, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    What incredible research and analysis…..you should be starting up BSI (Bike Scene Investigation)…hahahaha. Seriously, though…very nice work on putting this together. We have to stand up for our fellow cyclists unless they are in fact in the wrong.


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  • trail user June 17, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Well this changes everything.

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  • Chris June 17, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Glad everyone was OK as this could have been a pretty serious situation.

    Good example for all of us of how we need to wait to see the evidence before jumping to conclusions! (and good example of why the mob should take a breath before running to get the pitchforks.)

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  • Ely June 17, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Can’t blame Trimet for everything I guess. Tip: When reporting a traffic incident, don’t lie.

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  • A-dub June 17, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    He was awfully conciliatory which made me suspicious. If there was a police report filed and he lied on that too he should be charged accordingly.

    For some, this will just reinforce the stereotype that people on bikes are reckless.

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  • fredlf June 17, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    A good example of why those “kind” folk who like to gently remind us to “get on the sidewalk” don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.

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  • K'Tesh June 17, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Kimo’s Kauai Rule:

    Always tell the truth (there’s less to remember)

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  • peejay June 17, 2010 at 1:30 pm



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  • sq June 17, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    It’s jerks like this that add to the deterioration of the relationship between bikes and others. Dick move, Case. Learn to ride a bike, learn to do it safely, don’t ride like an ass, and don’t blame others for your own recklessness and mistakes.

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  • Allison June 17, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    This makes me feel so much better. It’s unfortunate when ever a bicyclist is in a traffic incident of any kind — but a bad decision on the part of a cyclist is less of a threat to me than a bad decision on the part of a TriMet operator (who is well trained and drives a huge vehicle).

    Let’s hope Mr. Case is more careful next time and thank TriMet for being the professional and responsible agency they are.

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  • trail user June 17, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    As a side note, quality wide angle sports proven helmet cameras are on sale at Costco for $99.99 with an almost unlimited warranty. I just bought one. Double edged sword so better be on your best behavior when someone runs into you. Could be beneficial for insurance purposes or for law enforcement when someone harasses you. I also notice drivers giving me a wider berth when passing. Go figure.

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  • ecohuman June 17, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    This *is* one of the drivers that you called “aggressive” in the previous article–isn’t it, Jonathan?

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  • jim June 17, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    Cyclist should have to go to mandatory bike safety school 9at his own expense)

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  • ecohuman June 17, 2010 at 2:01 pm


    In your 6/15 story, you described three incidents and labeled the drivers as “aggressive”. In that story, you described this incident as “very similar” to one of the incidents involving an “aggressive driver”.

    So no–you didn’t call this driver out specifically as aggressive. You only inferred it. I wonder if you waited to learn any details of the other three incidents before labeling those drivers as “aggressive”?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 17, 2010 at 2:06 pm


    I regret inferring that one of those aggressive incidents I mentioned in my post on 6/15 was “very similar” to this Hawthorne one. I have edited the story to reflect this.

    And no, I did not wait to learn details of those three that I clearly labeled as “aggressive.” I do not always wait for details of everything before I post it. I use my gut and my instincts and I live with my decisions — wrong or right.


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  • poncho June 17, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    trail user, I agree helmet cams are definitely the way to go.

    IMO bus drivers are the only group of professional motor vehicle drivers on the road who drive carefully. Everyone else drives like reckless maniacs.

    I think its a product of our auto centric planning that we lump bikes and buses together to share a lane. Bikes and buses dont mix any better than bikes and cars or buses and cars. If you are on a bike you dont want to ride behind a bus that keeps pulling over to stop or breathe its exhaust, likewise if you are on a bus to dont want to be behind a bike. They simply dont mix, we need seperated bike lanes and seperated bus lanes, especially in such a major bike and bus corridor as Hawthorne.

    Has anyone seen the new Dunsmuir Two-way Cycle Track in Downtown Vancouver, BC? Quite impressive if you ask me…

    Planetizen: Vancouver Debuts Two-Way Bicycle Lane

    City of Vancouver (BC): Separated bike lane on Dunsmuir Street now open

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  • Evan June 17, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Why the hell would anyone ride their bike on Hawthorne? The lanes are really narrow, and everyone speeds. Meanwhile, Madison (one block north) is designated as a bike route. Some better signage pointing people toward it would probably help.

    Of course, in the long term, Hawthorne should be a 2 lane street. It should carry a streetcar in the traffic lane, and the street parking should move over into the current outside lane, and the curb lane should be a cycle track. And I should have a pony.

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  • Anonymous June 17, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    You still might want to change the heading on the previous article.

    “Three days, three stories of aggressive TriMet bus operators”

    Maybe “Three days, Three UNCONFIRMED Stories of Aggressive TriMet Bus Operators”

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 17, 2010 at 2:16 pm


      thanks for that suggestion. i’ll consider doing that and I’ll definitely remember all this so that I’m even more careful with future stories.

      OK, I did go back and re-do that headline. It now reads, Three days, three stories of alleged aggression by TriMet bus operators. It’s unfortunate because I am usually careful with using “alleged” and “suspected” in cases like this but I’m more used to dealing with this issue on police-related stories so I’ve got to remember to take similar caution with TriMet stories.

      And Ecohuman,

      I do pause and reflect quite often on most stories… but sometimes, due to a number of factors, things slip through. Thanks.

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  • Jason Skelton June 17, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    I can’t read Mr. Case’s mind, but sometimes people are wrong about things without lying. If I recall correctly, I may have even made a few mistakes in my time.

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  • JAT in Seattle June 17, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    imply / infer – whatever.

    Is trail user at 11 making a backhanded helmet comment?…

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  • ecohuman June 17, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    I use my gut and my instincts and I live with my decisions — wrong or right.

    I think that’s good, thank you. I also think it’s good to pause and reflect before dealing out quick condemnations–that is, if you’re acting as a reporter, or at least trying to give a fair and thoughtful picture of things.

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  • trail user June 17, 2010 at 2:19 pm


    What? Paranoid much?

    You could also get the head-strap for the camera if you don’t like helmets. I go pretty fast and don’t want to know what happens to my head at 30+ mph without a helmet.

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  • q`Tzal June 17, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    Notice how quickly Trimet came out with this video to exonerate their driver in the public opinion: 2 days.
    Good for Trimet for responding quickly and decisively to bad spin.

    From now on, though, every time one of these incidents occurs I’m going to be comparing the PR response and video release time to this case where the bus driver was obviously not at fault. Any delay longer than a week in the future would seem to be a tacit admission guilt.

    Go Trimet!

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  • Josh Collins June 17, 2010 at 2:34 pm


    This incident did not involve police investigation, which is why the video was available so quickly. When police are involved the datapacks are taken from TriMet’s possession, usually before we even see the footage ourselves.

    Josh Collins
    TriMet Operations

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  • trail user June 17, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Case remembers every detail of the crash but not riding on the sidewalk? LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE!

    Heading to his lawyer’s office? What so he can cover his ass for slander against Trimet? What an ass!

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  • tony June 17, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    #20 Jason Skelton : it’s also possible Mr. Case actually did suffer a head injury clouding his memory… here’s another choice response from him on the OregonLive thread from yesterday:

    “i strongly disagree. My type of riding is not compatible with the inconsistency of a city side walk. And hitting a ped would suck.”

    Yeah, that inconsistency, like between the sidewalk and the street, I think they call it a curb.

    It’s really sad this guy had to make up a story and we all fell for it. Makes us look like fools and that’s a shame because I don’t think we are.

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  • trimet chick June 17, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    Absolutely agree with echoman. Jonathan Maus, your writing was irresponsible in light that the investigative process at TM wasn’t complete.

    Trimet Operators have been getting a bad rap by the press who just want to assume that all Operators are bad apples. Please understand that if the woman driving this bus hadn’t been doing what over 1300 of us do everyday the bicyclist would be in far worse shape. We are constantly being cut off by bikes, people, traffic, etc. Our eyes, heads, necks, shoulders, body’s are in constant motion. We do one hell of a job maneuvering the buses and just like everything else in life, sometimes mistakes happen.

    We have an amazing record when it comes to accidents in Portland so if you want to write an article about Trimet and bicyclists I suggest you stay on the positive, factual side and write something about what we go through in a day so you and everyone else in town can get home. Go for some ride alongs, Jonathan. Ride a bus during the afternoon rush hour and ride another one like the 72 after dark.


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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 17, 2010 at 2:58 pm

      trimet chick,

      thanks for the comment and I hear you. I know TriMet operators have one hell of a difficult job and I do not want to simply give them bad press unless they deserve it. I take being fair very seriously and I am usually very vigilant about not assessing blame without facts. In this case I could have been more careful and I admit it.

      That being said, not all TriMet drivers are angels around bikes — as the many comments and stories and my personal experiences would attest. I believe there’s still a need for very clear policy around how to deal with bike traffic and that policy must be more directly communicated to bus operators and more forcefully expected by management. (And yes, I am aware people on bikes could stand to behave more safely around buses as well).

      Thanks for your comment and I hope you will judge my work and this site by the totality of my coverage of these and other issues and not by a single headline or story.

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  • Vance Longwell June 17, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    Crow – The other white-meat!

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  • Michael M. June 17, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    I wasn’t aware that Case had accused the bus driver of anything, though it’s clear his immediate understanding of how things transpired was inaccurate. That’s pretty common, though, among people involved in traffic incidents. Very often, these kinds of things happen because people aren’t paying sufficient attention, even when they think they are, and wildly misjudge circumstances; thus, phrases like “came out of nowhere,” “didn’t see her,” “I thought there was plenty of room,” etc.

    That, among other reasons, is why it is important to attempt, at least, a good faith effort in observing traffic control devices. (I’m looking at you, cycling guy who blew through the bike signal on the west end of the Broadway Bridge yesterday afternoon, and 2nd cycling guy shortly thereafter who couldn’t be bothered to wait for the light to turn green at NE Tillamook and MLK.) Errors in judgement like Case made are going to happen, but we can at least try to exhibit some courteous and common sense behavior when it is in our power to do so, instead of pretending that flagrant lawlessness really isn’t hurting anyone. There’s a reason why so many out there take such a dim view of people on bikes — we earn it, everyday all over town, every time we decide our “momentum” is more important than that upcoming stop sign.

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  • TonyT
    TonyT June 17, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Thanks for nothing Sebastian. You don’t help any of us with your fictional account of what happened.

    Is that an aerospoke I see in that video? Alternative headline for you.

    Fashionista falls flat from folly, fabricates fracas.

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  • AL M June 17, 2010 at 2:59 pm



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  • trimet chick June 17, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    Re: 28
    Accidents happen and I just made one when I used the word MISTAKE. Please take that word out and insert the word ACCIDENT.

    Mistakes kill, accidents happen.


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  • Vance Longwell June 17, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    Oh c’mon folks. Why compound a crappy situation? I’m inclined to cut Mr. Case a ton of slack here. Mostly because he was faced with an extraordinary series of decisions to make. I’m speculating, of course, but I’d wager he’s feelin’ it about right now. I seriously implore all to allow the guy to make a mistake, maybe learn from it, and be right back in the fold. At the very least he’s owed for being an unwilling guinea-pig in this little impromptu human-experiment.

    Besides, let ye without sin…and whatnot.

    Picking and choosing between bicycle-riders, and deciding who’s friend and foe is as counter-productive as the car v. bike thing, right? This is the ‘work’ part of the deal, right? Nobody said biking is an easy thing. And sticking by one of us who’s ass is hanging out all over the place is our burden to bear, not duder.

    And finally. Here we are again, and I’m just as guilty as anybody now, here we are again, with a limited set of facts, neither of the involved parties at hand, speculating about a bunch of junk. Apparently, some lessons just take time.

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  • Marcus Griffith June 17, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    I have yet to hear of a collision where both parties are in prefect agreement over what happened. Difference in perspectives, selective memory, human error and willful deceit all play a role.

    Lets not jump to conclusions about why the cyclist was in error with his account of what happened. The cyclist could have simply not have been paying attention before the collision and therefore would not have remembered the bus after the collision.

    Anyways, the lesson to take from this is to maintain situational awareness.

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  • AL M June 17, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    And how does it feel to be lumped all together for the actions of one?


    Not so freaking high and mighty those of you who target all trimet bus drivers as some sort of plague on society?

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  • bahueh June 17, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    marcus..actually the lesson to take from this is OBEY THE FREAKIN TRAFFIC LAWS.

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  • trail user June 17, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    A lot of Trimet drivers have folding bikes tucked behind their seats. How many of us have driven buses? Trimet doesn’t do enough in letting the public try driving buses in giant parking lots with buzzing cyclists all around.

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  • spare_wheel June 17, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    “They simply dont mix, we need seperated bike lanes and seperated bus lanes, especially in such a major bike and bus corridor as Hawthorne.”

    The fact that Case lied does not diminish the danger of having buses cross through bike lanes. These two modes of transportation need to be separated. And if that is not feasible, sharrows would be an improvement.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 17, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    Hi Al M,

    you act like being lumped all together for the actions of one is something new to people who ride bikes. it’s not! it’s been happening forever.

    “holier than thou” “scofflaws” “lance armstrong wannabees” “critical mass anarchists” “act like they own the road” I’ve heard them all!

    I think we can both agree it feels terrible to be labeled because it’s unfair and it makes it more difficult to move forward in creating the kind of city we all want to live in.

    thanks for your comment.

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  • Roland June 17, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Al, any cyclist is WELL FAMILIAR with being lumped in together. For an example, see YOUR OWN BLOG.

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  • q`Tzal June 17, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    #26 Josh Collins
    Thanks for the info on video record procedure.

    #38 AL M

    Pot to Kettle, come in, Kettle. You are black, repeat, you are black. Over.

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  • Roland June 17, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Anywhoo. My point from yesterday, that I never ended up typing, still stands: If you’re riding on a street that even has a bus line on it, you probably could’ve chosen your route better. Busy streets are terrible for cycling; they’re full of autos and they reek of exhaust. And yes I’m afraid that includes the ones the city has so valiantly striped with bike lanes, such as Williams & Vancouver, which are (surprise!) riddled with bus/bike conflicts, as previously reported here.

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  • naomi June 17, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    Why on earth would this cyclist lie about Trimet like that? He must feel super embarrassed now that the facts are out. Dumb.

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  • AL M June 17, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    I guess I’m gonna make a post to my blog now and call it:


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  • AL M June 17, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    “Pot to Kettle, come in, Kettle. You are black, repeat, you are black. Over.”

    Kettle to pot, kettle to pot, I think your communication device is defective as I am unable to decipher your communication.

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  • jeneraldisarray June 17, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    I really appreciate the matter-of-fact and level-headed tone of this report.

    Thank you for letting the facts speak for themselves and for silently reminding everyone that every story is seen from multiple viewpoints. Further, it’s never true that “Everyone is out to get folks on bikes!”

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  • rigormrtis June 17, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Man, did that guy ever get served.

    Boy who cried wolf, indeed.

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  • AL M June 17, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    This is your nice ranting bus driver, who DOES NOT REPRESENT ANYBODY, now going 10-7!

    Have a nice day!

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  • q`Tzal June 17, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    #48 AL M

    Hammering on a chosen stereotype doesn’t make it real.
    Yelling and flinging excrement like monkeys doesn’t benefit either side.

    The cyclist was obviously wrong in this case; notice the change it tone in this community.

    Your tone in dealing with cyclists however serves only to reinforce the false stereotype of all transit drivers as people with attitude problems and anger management issues.
    As “trimet chick” states above there many great transit drivers many of whom are quite friendly, conciliatory and cooperative to cyclists and the public in general.
    Lets be honest: we both, we all only remember the bad interactions with other people and gloss over the good ones and even the neutral ones.
    Notice I used “people”, just because a person gets on a bike does not mean they are giving up their right to life and the person behind the wheel of the bus is not a machine but indeed a person whose judgment may be clouded by the SUV that didn’t yield to let him out, the pedestrian who decides to stop in front of the bus and finish a phone conversation or indeed some cyclist that has done something equally inconsiderate.

    We need to all interact as if there was an living, emotional human being driving every vehicle around them because that is pretty much the circumstances as it stands now.

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  • D.R. Miller June 17, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    how does it feel to be a troll on someone else’s blog? (I know, I know, don’t feed the trolls.)
    So tell us again: why are you complaining about TriMet drivers being “lumped together as some sort of plague on society”, when your own headline makes the blanket statement “Portland Bicyclists are Liars!”?

    Does that include TriMet employees who are also Portland bicyclists? (I used to be one of those myself.)

    But back to this issue: clearly a city with pretensions of world-class bike and transportation infrastructure needs to treat bike infrastructure funding and implementation (such as serious cycle track on major streets) with the same energy and seriousness that it has projects like the streetcar expansion. Until then, there will be a continuous and ongoing conflict between inherently different modalities sharing the same right of way, and incidents like this one will keep happening, sometimes with worse (deadlier) outcome than merely embarrasment to one of the parties.

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  • Jim F June 17, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    I don’t doubt that most TriMet drivers are very skilled and careful professionals. Unfortunately, however, some people behind the wheel of TriMet buses are scary drivers. I guess that makes them no different than us cyclists. Well, except for the fact that their mistakes can kill other people. Except that.

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  • trimet chick June 17, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    I ride a bike but when I ride I take 100% responsibility for my safety. At least 10% of the bicyclists who ride this time of year refuse personal responsibility. They rely on everyone else to see them. Many of them don’t wear helmets or have lights and ride in the wrong direction of one way streets in the dark. I watch how bicyclists dress (if I can see them). Their garb gives me all the information I need in order to decide how much additional attention I need to give in order to make sure they’re safe as I pass them. Based on personal experience, 90% or more of the cyclists I share the road with are regular people just trying to get home like everyone else. They know what to do in traffic in order to protect themselves.

    You’re right, not all Trimet Operators are angels around bikes either but it’s only a handful. DO NOT stereotype all of us based upon the behavior of a few. If someone has a problem with a bus, get the number and call it in.

    The whole situation with Mr. Case has caused unfair, negative attention to Bus Operators. Your blog displays comments from the cycling community. You had nearly 100 negative comments yesterday based upon a story that was not investigated. You owe us an article, Jonathan.


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  • matt picio June 17, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Evan (#18) – Well, for one, Hawthorne is nice and wide and has clear lines of sight if one is taking the lane. Madison is narrower and has poor lines of sight at many intersections. Also, in a couple spots, Madison dead-ends. BTW, Madison is not a bike route, Salmon (3 blocks north of Hawthorne) is.

    trail user (#27) – It’s not uncommon for people involved in a collision (regardless of vehicle type) to not remember the details of a crash – this is why eyewitness accounts are so valuable to police when reconstructing an incident.

    trimet chick (#29) – my sympathies to the drivers of the #72, regardless of time of day. Agreed, most Tri-Met operators are professionals, courteous, and operating under tight schedules while suffering abusive behavior from other drivers and frequently from passengers. I can understand the reports in the other story, though – there are some (a minority of) Tri-Met operators who are impatient, aggressive, disregarding of safety and the law, or unskilled. They unfortunately are responsible for much of the public perception, and also unfortunately are protected from dismissal by the same union and policies that protect the good operators in the majority.

    Weeding out bad transit drivers and bad civil service employees is very difficult without likewise affecting those folks who are keeping the whole shebang running smoothly.

    AL M (#38) – I think everyone knows how it feels. The majority of us lump some group of people under a convenient label every day, and have it done to us by others. There’s nothing particularly special about this instance.

    bahueh (#39) – Marcus is right. Situational awareness is FAR more important. Though you make a good point. traffic law states that a vehicle must stop before entering the roadway. Had Case followed that particular law, he’d have been behind the bus and not between it and a van.

    spare_wheel (#41) – Not necessarily. Hawthorne could be improved by removing parking. Cyclists can take Harrison or Salmon instead of Hawthorne. Tri-Met can install better safety equipment on their buses. PBOT could reduce speeds on Hawthorne, and PPB could step up enforcement. There are a lot of possible solutions. I agree, though, that SOMEthing should be done, and sharrows would be an improvement.

    AL M (#50) – Presumably you are representing yourself. I’m curious if you think that representing yourself in this way will make your life any easier or any more enriched. If not, then why? It’s far easier to complain than to work towards constructive solutions or engage others with differing opinions in real dialogue.

    Not that I’m always successful – I’m sorry to say I still occasionally yell at or flip off other road users, though I try never to do that unless they’ve nearly killed me.

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  • matt picio June 17, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    trimet chick (#53) – I shudder at the thought of starting another helmet war, but helmets do NOTHING to improve your visibility or safety from the perspective of avoiding a collision with a motorist, transit driver, etc. They are solely of use in avoiding damage once a collision has occurred.

    Other than that, I agree with you 100%

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  • trimet chick June 17, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    BTW, this goes without saying, but…what the hell…

    AL M and his blog DO NOT represent Trimet Bus Operators. πŸ™‚

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  • nuovorecord June 17, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Frankly, the best comment in this thread was Evan’s (#18, before we got side-tracked with all of the troll drivel…)

    Sure, it’s LEGAL to ride on Hawthorne, but I’m really trying to come up with a compelling reason why anyone does it. I live in this neighborhood and ride the #14 all the time. Using Madison or cutting through Ladd’s Addition are perfectly useful and designated bike routes.

    I’m all for the right to ride in the street, but it’s beyond me why on earth anyone chooses to ride on Hawthorne, Powell, Sandy, Cesar Chavez, and similar arterials that have viable alternative routes close by. (I’ve asked this question before and have yet to get a cogent answer.)

    Our “victim” could have avoided the whole incident by using the bike system we’ve worked so hard to build.

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  • trimet chick June 17, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    #55, Matt, You’re right. I used to not wear one for years but I work at night and the ones who always seem to need extra attention don’t have them on.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 17, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    trimet chick wrote:

    “The whole situation with Mr. Case has caused unfair, negative attention to Bus Operators. Your blog displays comments from the cycling community. You had nearly 100 negative comments yesterday based upon a story that was not investigated. You owe us an article, Jonathan.”

    Please keep in mind that just because of Mr. Case’s situation, it does not suddenly mean that TriMet bus drivers deserve no attention for how they operate around people on bikes. Yes, i presented stories based on allegations, but that does not mean they should be dismissed completely. Readers take those alleged stories for what they were and they commented based on their own feelings and experiences — again, those comments are not suddenly dismissed because of this one incident.

    and please be careful to not put words in my mouth. I have not lumped all operators together, I merely presented alleged stories where operators might have acted aggressively.

    All this being said, I don’t feel I owe TriMet or anyone anything other than what I’ve already made clear — that I will continue to be vigilant in reporting on these and all issues and I will learn from my experiences.


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  • old&slow June 17, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    Jonathan, you did about the only thing you could do, report the story with the facts at the time. I do think Trimet drivers are some of the worst around cyclists, but this guy needs to be embarrassed and shunned. He is a a-hole who shames and becomes the stereotype for bad cycling. I am as sick of these jokers who run lights, ride on sidewalks, make my life worse as drivers just look at me as an obstacle on the streets because of these jerks.

    Mr. Case (he doesn’t deserve the “MISTER”) is a child and rides like one. I wish the bus had hit you.

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  • cyclist June 17, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Jonathan: I’ve taken you to task previously for reporting on a story before you had all of the facts (the one I think I remember is the article where you posted an anonymous smear about the Recyclery before later posting that they didn’t have any complaints lodged against them). You’ve also said in the past that you would learn from the experience.

    I don’t think that reporting a one-sided account of an accident with a bus–later proven to be false upon examination of contradictory video evidence–counts as being vigilant. A vigilant reporter would get all the details right before they filed their story.

    Put simply, why not wait until you have all of the facts before you make a post? Why not get the interview from the cyclist, get the video from Trimet, and then dicuss the issue?

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  • Rider X June 17, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    nuovorecord # 59

    I don’t ride the arterials like Hawthorne, Bursinde, Sandy etc. often, but I do when I need to get somewhere in the most efficient manner. I ride with traffic, and take a lane when I am going the speed limit. It is generally much faster to ride the main roads. When I need to get somewhere quickly, it’s what I do, just like a car driver does. No frequent stop signs to slow my ride, fewer parked cars to avoid dooring, and less slow moving, inexperienced cyclists. I prefer bike lanes, less traveled roads, bike boulevards, etc. but they are not always the best way to get from point A to B. That’s my reality after bike commuting and riding in Portland for 18 years. Hope that helps.

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  • Lisa June 17, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    I wonder if this entire episode is a result of the not bright line between being a blogger and/or journalist and/or advocate?

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  • chad June 17, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    Considering the challenge of trying to create fair and unbiased reporting on a blog that is admittedly, and proudly, from the perspective of a person who rides a bike in Portland cannot be easy.

    Jonathan could write these articles, inflame a controversy, and let us bludgeon ourselves into a froth over who is right and who is wrong and who is to blame as so many other news organizations and blogs do on a regular basis.

    Instead, Jonathan is here speaking directly and openly with those who question his journalistic integrity, editing past articles to right possible wrongs and all the while trying to bring some sort of consensus to groups of people who love to insult the other in the anonymous world of the blogosphere.

    Keep up the good work Jonathan, you have one hell of a job too!

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  • Stig10 June 17, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    He was still on the sidewalk as the bus was alongside.

    Maybe he was watching the bus and not looking out for parked vehicles then couldn’t stop in time and went for the gap.

    Looks like a Spynergy 4 spoke rear wheel from the few frames in the video- probably a track bike. Did the bike have brakes, I wonder? (Excluding the knee crushing skid-stop kind.)

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  • matt picio June 17, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    Wow, what is this, bash on Jonathan day? Come on, folks – regular readers of this blog know that a: this is not strictly a news site, b: Jonathan has to get stories out without a paid staff, before they’re covered to death by other sites, c: he’s a human being and makes mistakes, and d: has a certain point of view that is mostly objective but not entirely. What’s the deal? Jonathan’s always proactive about listening to his readers, modifying stories to fit an expanded understanding, and correcting outright mistakes – try getting THAT out of the Oregonian, or the Tribute, KATU, KOIN or KGW.

    There ARE issues at Tri-Met. Sure, it’s a minority of operators, but they are a problem, and cyclists are being pinched, sideswiped and intimidated. And yeah, some cyclists AREN’T, and are saying they are. The fact that some cases are misrepresented does not mean that none of the cases in fact occurred.

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  • trimet chick June 17, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    Re: #61
    Jonathan, You sound defensive and conciliatory. I also detect what sounds like a bit of a resentment with Trimet Operators.

    We all have a negative story or experience from the past with someone or something and that is all very well and good but when one is in a position such as you with this blog and the work you have done building bridges within the cycling community and other factions of the City, etc. one would assume that you’d keep it professional, right down the middle and keep personalities out of the equation.

    Man up. Do the right think. πŸ™‚

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  • nuovorecord June 17, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    @Racer X #63: The scenarios you describe sound completely reasonable. You sound like you get it.

    But the situation on eastbound Hawthorne from 12th to 29th is uphill. I’ve been on the bus while we followed a cyclist struggling uphill at 5 mph. Meanwhile, cars are trying to squeeze by on the right of the bus and playing chicken with oncoming traffic. Worse, the bus driver will pass the cyclist, only to get repassed at the next bus stop. It’s inconvenient and annoying at the least; deadly at the worst.

    I’m not at all for closing streets to cyclists, but where’s the common sense???

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  • Marcus Griffith June 17, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    As a person who works as a paid freelance journalist, a longtime reader and someone who has recently contributed (unpaid) to this site, I have a different perspective on the fact checking situation than most readers.

    For the most part, Jonathan does a great job of fact checking and providing supporting documents for his posts. However, as much as Bike Portland is a news source (per its own ‘about us’ section), it is also a blog that caters to the bike riding demographic. Blog’s, by their very nature, allow for (and even mandate) a certain level of personal feelings and editorializing of what ever topic is at hand. By no means is Bike Portland a main stream news source, yet, fact checking is still paramount for reliability, credibility and to meet the ‘inform’ part of Bike Portland’s ‘inform and inspire’ motto.

    It is the obligation of every journalist and news source to get the facts straight and when the facts are later found in error, correct them quickly, publicly and without minimizing the error.

    A person who lies to a journalist is responsible for the lie, not the news source who acts in good faith on statements. For the issue at hand, it is fair to hold Jonathan accountable the missing “alleged” in his post. But the error in reporting what happen lies with the cyclist who misinformed Jonathan (and a few other news outlets).

    The demand for an apology is neither reasonable nor justified. Posting the corrected facts is all any news source owes anyone when a good faith error occurs. TriMet can take its slander concerns up with the individual who lied. Additionally, an individual is maintains all responsibility for what her or she posts on a website.

    As for an article regarding bus operator’s view of cyclists and bike lanes? That actually sounds like a news worthy topic considering the intricate role buses serve in alternative transportation.

    Lastly, there is a time and place for anonymous debate, but for the most part, use your real name when entering the public debate.

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  • The Translator June 17, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    HA HA HA!

    Since it’s Pedalpalooza time, shouldn’t we put together a “Lyin’about Tri-Met” or “Dishonest Douchebag” theme ride to celebrate this great moment in Portland’s bikey history?

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  • Lisa June 17, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    I’m asking the question out of curiosity because Jonathan himself has mused aloud about the confluence of journalism, advocacy and blogging here at bikeportland.

    I in no way intended a slam and am regretful if it was taken that way.

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  • Schrauf June 17, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    Are we sure we are seeing what TriMet wants us to see? The video shows the guy riding on the sidewalk and then hopping into the street, but after that point nothing is clear at all. There is no clear van or accident on video. How do we know this is Case, or even the same bus or day? Any data stamps are easy to fake.

    I am happy to throw Case under the bus (HA!) if he is lying and that is him in the video and he rode into the street as the bus was passing, but the video is just not all that clear to me. And do we really trust TriMet?

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  • PoPo June 17, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    Perhaps this is a reminder to all of us regarding the accuracy and veracity of media reports, whether from a blog, newspaper or TV, based on single witness accounts. Media outlets are very interested in getting the “news” out “first” which often precludes a fuller investigation. (Particularly if it is an emotional topic that generates a lot of readership or comments, such as “bikes vs. anything.”)

    Witnesses are usually earnest, but often inaccurate, especially regarding quick, traumatic events such as crashes.

    Parties involved in the incident are also usually interested in portraying themselves in the best possible light, sometimes omitting key errors they might have committed.

    I am reminded again to read such media accounts with a skeptical eye, and to withhold judgment until after enough time has passed for a fuller investigation.

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  • trimet chick June 17, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    Re: #71

    It’s Theresa but my friends call me ‘Wazzup Chick’

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  • q`Tzal June 17, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    From PoPo:

    “Witnesses are usually earnest, but often inaccurate, especially regarding quick, traumatic events such as crashes.”

    Keep this in mind in all these cases.

    BTW. Vance’s best post ever: #30 “Crow – The other white-meat!”

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  • kphomma June 17, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    and then his rear rev-x imploded

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  • h June 17, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    this videoclip does not match what it was alleged reported. Trimet 1 BikePDX 0

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  • trimet chick June 17, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    Re: #16
    Jonathan Maus:

    “And no, I did not wait to learn details of those three that I clearly labeled as “aggressive.” I do not always wait for details of everything before I post it. I use my gut and my instincts and I live with my decisions — wrong or right.”


    It’s your blog, obviously you can do what you want but if you want credibility in reporting then leave your “gut and instincts” at home and focus on the ‘FACTS.’

    I’m not disputing anyone’s right to tell their experiences with Bus Operators in yesterdays blog and I don’t doubt there are more but I do take issue with you for your role in riling up readers who look towards you for honest and credible reporting. ‘gut and instincts’reporting suggests yellow journalism. Your refusal to correct the wrong suggests ego.

    Thank you,

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  • resopmok June 17, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    #18 – Hahahaha.. I couldn’t stop laughing. We should all have ponies.

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  • Noel June 17, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    Yeah, dont lie and tell ’em that you jumped the sidewalk and try to pass the bus with your skinny handle bar. Damn, you make bikers look bad and tougher for honest people that are getting hit by buses to win claims.

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  • AL M June 17, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    For bikeportland.org, my final comment on this:


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  • NecroPsyChroNauTron June 18, 2010 at 3:27 am

    Nice to see people realizing things go both ways.
    I do think people are REALLY quick to go on the offensive against Tri-Met drivers, and I can’t really understand why.
    Not all of us live in the inner city, and the fact that I can hop on a bus for part of my trip really helps make leaving my car at home an appealing option when traveling across town.
    Most of ’em seem like honest hardworking people to me.
    Hell even AL M here, who sounds like a troll mostly, and should probably wait on the eating until after he’s recording a video (lol) makes some valid points. You can tell his hints towards hostility are motivated by the fact he feels there’s a whole community out there that villifies him and his kind.
    I have this same attitude with police, which is that alienating them is in no way in out best interest.
    Of course we have to punish those who make negligent mistakes, but that’s not the case here, and in many incidents, and making it an “US vs THEM” situation only buries the potential for cooperation.

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  • Bob_M June 18, 2010 at 7:56 am

    # 83 Al


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  • Crash N. Burns June 18, 2010 at 8:03 am

    Interesting that Sebastian was entirely active in the Oregonian comment section right up until the video was released, and has not once chimed in here.

    Anyhoo, I often commute to work by bike and own several bicycles, but I also drive a car. When driving I am much more aggravated by Tri-Met than I am when cycling. Specifically, what gives Tri-Met the right to constantly cross double yellow lines into the lane of oncoming traffic? If your lane is obstructed – too bad. Stop or slow down until you can safely continue. Purchasing buses that are too wide for Portland streets is no excuse either. I respect the work that the drivers do, but Tri-Met forces them to drive machines that are not designed for our streets. In my opinion they are constantly faced with having to blur the lines of being a legal roadway user to accommodate their business. It’s important to remember that despite the cyclist likely being at fault here that Tri-Met is a privately owned business and is subject to no special treatment when disobeying traffic laws. Just as no cyclist should be treated differently.

    Sharing the road means sharing responsibilities. For both cyclists and buses predictability is extremely important. Paying attention and following the rules of the road are the easiest ways to avoid accidents.

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  • mike June 18, 2010 at 8:09 am

    All the people that bitched about cars, buses etc need to eat a little crow and realize not every incident is the cars fault. Irresponsible cycling is rude, dangerous, and gives responsible cyclists a bad name. I have personally seen riders like this jump from sidewalk to street and run red lights. Stop whining and be responsible!!!

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  • mike June 18, 2010 at 8:15 am

    Wow, non-helmeted rider on a fixie riding like a lunatic on Hawthorne? Shocking.

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  • Andrew June 18, 2010 at 9:04 am

    So…..let’s consider the source, all you who are so up in arms about him lying.

    A quick Facebook search shows him beating a drum-circle drum, and his “likes” include “reggae and dub” and “glass blowing.”

    Hippie scum like that are why I avoid Hawthorne and Belmont at all cost.

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  • Did I miss it? Again? June 18, 2010 at 9:12 am

    Any story that shows Portland Police or TriMet at odds with cyclists will most likely be posted here before all the facts are known.
    It is kind of the nature of the game; if you wait until the facts are known to report it, you are already too late.

    That being said, I think it is really important to recognize that there are probably just as many inconsiderate jerks on bikes as there are driving vehicles. Everyone should be innocent until proven guilty, even if they choose to drive.

    Dat’s suggestion for everyone to cool off was met with a defensive posting that went off on a tangent not related to what he was saying. There have been other instances where cooler heads have been responded too with an animosity that does not follow logic (but plays well on emotions and fallacies).

    Most of us follow Jonathan’s blog because we have a collective interest in furthering cycling in Portland (I know Dat and I know he has worked for this cause). Please keep this in mind when responding to fellow post’ers.

    I guess what I am trying to say is this:
    Do not be too quick to judge and do not be too quick to refute/rebut/attack those calling for restraint.

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  • Aaronf June 18, 2010 at 9:18 am

    I think if the Oregonian did a “3 days, 3 events involving stupid bicyclists” story Maus would be all up in arms about irresponsible coverage…

    I’ll make sure to remember this the next time that happens.

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  • matt picio June 18, 2010 at 9:22 am

    The Translator (#72) – Absolutely, and in the DIY spirit of Pedalpalooza, you should post the ride to the calendar and lead it!

    mike (#87) – I don’t think crow is necessary. There are so many additional instances of bad motorist behavior, and the mis-actions of a cyclist do not justify the bad behavior of others. There’s no justification for aggressive driving, regardless of the source.

    I don’t get to steal someone’s television because they cut me off on the street.

    Andrew (#89) “Hippie scum”? What are you, a stormtrooper? “You are part of the Rebel Alliance, and a traitor – take her away!”

    You should probably also avoid Alberta and Mississippi. Oh, and Foster/Powell in another couple of years. Just curious, if you really feel that way, why do you live in “The People’s Republic of Portland”?

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  • matt picio June 18, 2010 at 9:25 am

    AaronF – your argument is flawed. 3 cyclists are a danger to themselves, or possibly some pedestrians. The potential for damage from a 30 ton bus is FAR greater than a cyclist. Not all misbehavior carries equal weight (pun intended).

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  • Andrew June 18, 2010 at 9:29 am

    I think matt picio needs

    1. A job
    2. A sense of humor

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  • Aaronf June 18, 2010 at 9:49 am

    That’s a good point matt.

    Cyclists weigh less, and therefore are less deserving of being used as a trolling topic where a group is singled out and bashed than bus drivers are.

    Maus gets 300 comments across three stories for bashing Tri-Met and it’s ok even if the original story is untrue because the story gives everyone a chance to share their experiences…

    The Oregonian gets extra traffic for a troll article bashing cyclists and they are stirring up hate towards cyclists…

    Help me out here!

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 18, 2010 at 9:56 am


    I absolutely disagree with your characterization of my stories. I am not guilty of “bashing TriMet”. Can you explain how you feel I bashed them? I presented the initial Hawthorne case with the facts we had at the time and included no bashing of TriMet whatsoever.

    The story about “aggressive” operators was presented by sharing verbatim reports from readers about experiences they had with TriMet buses. I think my readers are intelligent enough to take those reports for what they were — alleged acts of aggression by bus drivers. I did not say those stories were true and I did not bash TriMet. After hearing concerns that my headline, I edited it to make sure people realized that the stories were only “alleged” and not vetted as being accurate.

    How bus drivers behave around people on bikes is a very serious topic of concern for me and many people because it does not take much for someone to be hurt or killed and because there remains many areas in town where bus/bike interaction can be improved.

    By being concerned about bus drivers, it does not therefore mean I absolve bike riders of all responsibility and it does not mean I am unconcerned for bike riders’ behavior as well.


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  • Andrew June 18, 2010 at 10:00 am

    That was an excellent response, Jonathan.

    Thank you for your continued coverage of important issues and the impeccable follow-up that sets you head-and-shoulders above any mainstream journalist.

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  • Vance Longwell June 18, 2010 at 10:01 am

    q ‘Tzal #77 – I know huh, didn’t get no love though.

    Say, I was done, but didn’t foresee the dogpile on Maus. WTF people? Kill the messenger, really? First time reading, yo? I am easily, easily, Maus’s biggest critic and even I know this guy’s got credibility running out his wazoo. I mean, c’mon. He’s got some trouble still reconciling his actions with his words, on some counts, but it’s absurd to impugn the guy’s intentions, let alone his credibility as a journalist.

    I’m really disappointed. Even if true, Maus has done more for ya’lls cause than 10 of you put together, so a little frickin’ loyalty, right? I bought Case’s story, so did many others. Including, I’m inclined to opine, Case his-damn-self.

    In all my years I’ve never encountered somebody more committed to doing the right thing, a subjective abstraction at best, than Mr. Maus is. I obviously disagree about what ‘right’ is here, but that’s beside the point. It’s brutally unfair to cast dispersions upon him over a quite pat read of a situation in which more than he were duped.

    This isn’t a case of catching Maus doing shit. Pardon the French kids. There’s no pattern, no precedent, he’s not busted. Nor does this release Tri-Met from the hook. ONE indecent plays out in a way that exonerates them in this, but for Pete’s sake, Tri-Met bus operators are collectively off their chain and running amok! Shedding light on that, raising awareness, I mean, that’s like the sole purpose of this site.

    Shame shame. I can’t stand the message here. But that message is delivered in earnest, and with an unfailing integrity that you should admire. The guy won’t even let a little typo alone for long. I mean, c’mon!

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  • Aaronf June 18, 2010 at 10:12 am

    I agree that there’s room for disagreement with my characterization. I hope I haven’t hurt your feelings!

    A big part of journalism is selecting which stories to tell, right?

    I think that by putting focus on the story “some tri-met drivers are aggressive” periodically basically abounts to periodic trolling if nothing “new” has really happened. All four of these articles basically amount to:

    Trimet drivers better be careful… well…. some of them are careful already… but those bad apples… we don’t like them.

    You wouldn’t like it if that was a story where “trimet driver” was replaced by “cyclist.”

    Since there’s nothing constructive here really… I see this as bashing.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 18, 2010 at 10:20 am


    thanks… but i still disagree with you.

    Given where I sit, I hear a lot of buzz about what’s going on out on the street.

    Consider this…

    Before the Hawthorne squeeze incident I had two complaints in my inbox of allegedly aggressive Trimet bus drivers. Than the Hawthorne incident hits the news and in the comments of that story i hear another detailed case of allegedly dangerous driving by a trimet bus operator.

    Given the totality of all that, I decided it was necessary to inform the community of all these stories.

    I think making people aware of what others are experiencing while riding their bikes on the street is a productive use of this site… far from “bashing” in my opinion.

    And I don’t buy the whole, ‘what if “cyclist” were replaced with “trimet driver”‘ thing. Comparisons like that are overly simplistic and not very productive in my opinion. if that did happen, I’d have to consider the complete context of the headline and then i’d come to an opinion about it… just as i hope people will do with my headlines.


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  • are June 18, 2010 at 10:24 am

    the thing is, aaron, that a huge bus barreling down the street presents a threat to those of us on bikes or on foot. therefore the bus operator has a responsibility, beyond that of the kid on the skateboard, to watch the hell out. day in and day out, if you are on your toes, mostly no problem. but not always because the driver is actually being all that careful, mostly because you, the cyclist, know how to get out of the way. but sometimes — and the point is, this happens often enough that it is a real problem — sometimes the bus driver just doesn’t pay attention, or worse, intentionally forces you to the side. anyone who has not seen this has simply not spent time on the roads with buses. this is not imaginary, and there are enough “bad apples” that it does threaten to spoil the barrel.

    yes, jonathan, let’s have a forum.

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  • Andrew June 18, 2010 at 10:33 am

    And Aaron, you’re confusing what Jonathan does here with what news editors do at the Oregonian.

    A big part of what those folks do is selecting which stories are “newsworthy” (which is an entirely different frustration for me).

    What Jonathan does is hold a niche media market based on a topic important to a subset of the community. What he reports on is not necessarily “news,” but rather events, opinions, trends and patterns important to cyclists in this community. With that, a recent upswing in issues around TriMet drivers, joined together with another incident involving a cyclist, is extremely important to Jonathan’s readers and is therefore worth reporting and discussing, even if it’s just a discussion of how Jonathan reported the story. That’s the beauty of this sort of 21st-Century journalism, and we should all be grateful to Jonathan for providing it.

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  • Did I miss it? Again? June 18, 2010 at 10:55 am

    I do take offense with your repeated use of “facts at the time”.
    You reported allegations and lies and continue to defend them as “facts at the time”.
    Facts are true, provable or verifiable.

    If you had reported this from the side of the driver, using actual facts, the post could have read “Moron cyclist runs into bus” or “Botched suicide attempt by cyclist involves Trimet bus”.
    Instead we are left with “Incorrect reporting of facts leads to unwarranted outrage against driver”.

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  • Aaronf June 18, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Ok, I admit it. Y’all are right and I’m wrong!

    I reread the articles and guess I don’t see as much Trimet criticism as I initially had… and 3 the stories you highlighted had good specific warnings for folks on MLK etc.

    For a few years my commute has been mostly on seperated facilities… I guess it’s been too long since I was intentionally run off the road by a bus. Oh boy is that no fun.

    …and by “y’all” I mean “everybody but matt picio”


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  • Aaronf June 18, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Andrew… I’m not confused. (I swear!)

    I see the line between the two forms of journalism as blurrier than you do… and I think Jonathan has spoke about the tension between advocacy and journalism more than once here.

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  • matt picio June 18, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Andrew (#94) – Have a job, and a sense of humor (unless you don’t like Star Wars references), but read your comment as serious rather than sarcastic. Sorry about that, hard to tell the difference sometimes.

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  • Stig June 18, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    The commenters are revolting!

    Seriously though, Jonathan does a fantastic job running this site and contributes enormously to keeping us informed and making cycling safer in this city (and beyond perhaps).

    We can be such a whiney lot sometimes. Please consider saying thanks once in a while.

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  • cyclist June 18, 2010 at 2:05 pm


    It’s really galling that somebody who considers himself a journalist doesn’t seen anything wrong with the way this story was reported. You’re reported “facts” are from the man who perpetrated the offense. You did not attempt to gather any evidence from other eyewitnesses and you didn’t get Trimet’s side of the story.

    Why do you continually post stories before the facts are known? Wait until you get a complete picture and then write your story. It doesn’t hurt anything to wait until tomorrow. Every time you write a story like this that turns out to be wrong (and yes, you’ve done it before) you damage your credibility as a journalist.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 18, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    cyclist and others,

    you are getting hung up on my use of the word “facts”.

    The way I used it above was simply to mean I presented the information I had at the time.

    Look up the definition of “fact” and you’ll note that it has several meanings, one of which is “a piece of information”…. not only a piece of accurate and verified information.

    in regard to your other feedback about how I should “wait until tomorrow” on stories like this… I hear you and that’s good feedback. However, i don’t see the problem in reporting information as long as people reading know that it’s unverified. That being said.. i realize publishing unverified information has its pitfalls and I do not prefer to do it and it doesn’t happen often.

    I have a high regard for the intelligence of readers and it is up to them to judge the source of information they read on this site.

    thanks again for the feedback.

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  • q'Tzal June 18, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Is the regular Oregonian comment mob like this too?
    The O, and other news outlets, ofter print retractions and corrections; usually daily.
    Are we attempting to hold Jonathan Maus’s news outlet to a higher standard than so called professional news companies?
    Are we subconsiously hoping legitimize the bike scene by making BikePortland to be better than any other news outlet?
    </10cent psychoanalizing>

    BTW: thanks for putting up with us the commenters, Jonathan.

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  • Did I miss it? Again? June 18, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    # 110

    Shouldn’t we hold our news outlets to higher standards? Most of them suck.

    If I wanted Oregonian quality reporting, I would read the Oregonian. Same for Fox.

    Having met Jonathan many times over the years, I do expect more and do expect him to be accountable. He is not beholden to share holders or advertisers and hopefully wouldn’t have to rely on sensationalism or stoking controversy for readership.

    But that’s just me. And Thank you Jonathan for putting up with me.

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  • Aaronf June 18, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    I don’t see why critical responses to articles bother people so much.

    I encounter critical comments and inquiries at work all the time, and I defend my actions openly and professionally… I don’t see the problem.

    Some of this complaining about criticism smells like groupthink to me.

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  • cyclist June 18, 2010 at 4:12 pm


    I have a high regard for the intelligence of readers and it is up to them to judge the source of information they read on this site.

    So what you’re saying is that your readers should be smart enough to know that you’re not going to fully verify your stories before posting, and that your articles (including those categorized as “news”) should get taken with one gigantic lump of salt. Is that right?

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  • Aaronf June 18, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    I’m going to bet that this blog has some smart readers and some dumb readers too.


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  • middle of the road guy June 18, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    People are dumping on Maus because they realized they jumped to false conclusions and don’t want to admit they were wrong for doing so. Since Jonathan put the article out there, it must be his fault.

    I’ve noticed that whenever there is an accident some people call for pause as the information first presented often changes…..but it’s mostly done here to not make assumptions about the cyclist’s behavior. Mind you, people will immediately jump to conclusions about the driver.

    In this case, the information was not accurate and the cyclist is the douche. If it was indeed the bus driver’s fault, you’d all be patting yourselves on the back for your perceptiveness.

    For all the trimet bashers…..eat your crow, admit the cyclist is a bad example and move on.

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  • middle of the road guy June 18, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    @108 cyclist…

    it’s an advocacy site. I don’t agree with much of the stuff said here……but I also don’t expect complete objectivity.

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  • John Lascurettes June 18, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Matt Pico,

    I shudder at the thought of starting another helmet war, but helmets do NOTHING to improve your visibility or safety from the perspective of avoiding a collision with a motorist, transit driver, etc. They are solely of use in avoiding damage once a collision has occurred.

    I’m not saying people should or shouldn’t wear helmets, but helmets can make you more visible, particularly at night. My helmet is light colored, has a front-facing and a rear-facing light, and it’s covered in reflective piping. πŸ˜‰

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  • wrench June 18, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    With the way Sebastian rides this incident was only a matter of time. He is pretty fast and obviously enjoys it even when it risks his own safety.

    Usually he’s doing it with a cup of coffee in his hand.

    I’ve had to try really hard to not transfer my “Car Mentality” when I am riding my bike. Years of commuting over the Hawthorne have taught me to slow down breathe and enjoy being outside.

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  • trimet chick June 18, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    Did a little research this morning and found out that Trimet actually has an in house BICYCLE ADVOCATE for the community.

    Colin Maher

    Problems, complaints, kudos, pony’s whatever. Give him a call or e-mail.

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  • Jerry_W June 18, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    BikePortland is guilty of jumping to the wrong conclusion, not good for credibility.

    Al M guilty of being a public fool, surely his employer is watching this site. Enjoy unemployment Al, you’ll have lots of time to go cycling.

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  • MIndful Cyclist June 18, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    The more I read through this thread, the more it reminds me of the article on The Recyclery back in March. Fliers go up making allegations. Jonathan calls up owner to discuss. I just re-read the story and did not see anything in it where Jonathan made any accusation. He simply asked questions. Many commenters got upset about the fact the story showed up on the site since it was an just an allegation. Many commenters were agreeing with the flier. Many commenters (because they were getting worked up over other’s comments?) begin bashing Jonathan.

    Que to a couple days ago: Cyclist makes allegation about a bus driver. Video later shows that it was perhaps cyclist own mistake the accident happened. People get upset because Jonathan posted the story about the situation without getting all the facts (read: video) and didn’t use the word “alleged” in a related story.

    Folks, this site is called Bike Portland. The site covers bike related things. The two stories are bike related. Jonathan is going to forget to cross a T and dot an I every now and then. If that is unforgivable, start your own blog.

    I come to this site and expect a pro-bike slant. Not to say that Jonathan doesn’t do a decent job of simply reporting the actual news, but he is a bicyclist. He is going to have a pro-bike lens. I, as a cyclist, could not run a site like this without being “guilty” of the same thing.

    Finally, remember that we as commenters are not bound to anything other than our own beliefs. We don’t have to be objective and can say whatever we want. So when reading the comment section, make sure it is being kept separate from the actual story.

    Keep up the good work, Jonathan.

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  • Practical Man June 18, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    I couldn’t see a problem in the video. The van didn’t seem close to the bus, unless there is something I’m missing.

    Yup, biker was on the sidewalk. Maybe he needs to take his meds?

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  • Spiffy June 18, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    that’s the kind of cyclist that gives us all a bad name…

    I hope he has good insurance to cover all the damage he did…

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  • Anonymous June 22, 2010 at 9:49 am

    Mindful Cyclist,

    The pro-bike slant is the problem.

    The pro-bike slant didn’t allow for good journalism. These were accusations and because of the pro-bike slant it was presented as truth. No mention of “alleged” in any of the stories with regards to the actions of the drivers.

    And while Bike Portland is pro-bike, it does us all a great disservice to ignore the fact that we as cyclists at time create our own problems.

    One of the major complaints about we as cyclists from the public is our sense of superiority and entitlement. Well this whole story pointed out what that pro-bike ego does for us when we don’t accept that we may actually be to blame in these situations.

    This wasn’t just dotting I’s and crossing T’s it was poor journalism.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 22, 2010 at 10:16 am

      anonymous (it’d be great to know your real name btw),

      you’ve been reading this site for a long time, so I’m surprised that you claim that I “ignore the fact that we as cyclists at time create our own problems.” Even in this story i call out the man operating the bike for making a bad decision. I’ve also published articles calling for more considerate riding and I have repeatedly written that all road users have a responsibility to act in accordance with the law and with respect.

      i disagree with your comment and your characterization of this story as being “pro-bike”. Yes, I love bikes and I see things through the lens of someone who bikes 99.5% of the time… but there’s no avoiding that and I never have claimed to be 100% objective because that’s B.S. everyone has bias. Please read my stories carefully (many times people let comments shape their opinion of my work). Thanks.

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  • Kim June 22, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Just to clarify – I’ve read the post, but not the comments.

    But, I just need to vent.

    Once again, a stupid reckless cyclist tries to blame a vehicle driver for their stupidity and makes the rest of us cyclists look bad.

    I am a cyclist and love and support cycling. However, based on the really stupid things I see cyclists do daily (like illegally cutting me [in my car] off at 11 PM while wearing dark non-reflective clothing and riding with NO lights) it has become almost impossible for me to defend them.

    I have friends who are not such fans of biking and when they state their reasoning behind their dislike of bikes I have no rebuttal – except to say, “Well, I don’t do those things.” It is now frequently very embarrassing to be known as a “cyclist.”

    When I witness one of these stupid actions, that only by the grace of god (and my excellent reaction time, night vision and brakes) turned out OK for the cyclist, I have found myself going through the scenario of how the cycling community would react if it had turned out badly and how an innocent driver would be vilified.

    It is great that we as a cycling community jump to make sure everyone knows of the injustices brought on us by vehicle drivers and do our best to make that driver accountable. But it is time we did the same for injustices brought on the cycling community by other cyclists.

    This stupid cycling has got to stop because in addition to hurting or killing the cyclist (and possibly innocent people), it is gravely, and possibly fatally, harming the cycling community and our aspirations.

    Our automatic closing of ranks and defense of all thing cycling, regardless of whether it is warranted or not, damages our credibility and soon nobody will take anything we say or advocate seriously.

    I am against EVERYTHING that harms the cycling community and that includes individual stupid and lying cyclists. It is time everyone took a stand.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 22, 2010 at 11:35 am


    I don’t understand. Why would people who ride bikes somehow be required to all be not stupid? All road users do stupid things… whether they drive, ride a bike, operate a bus, a taxi, whatever.

    because bikes are a minority user, there’s this concept that until 100% of them act perfectly all the time, than no one will respect them?! I just don’t get that.

    Your friends don’t like biking because some people do stupid things when they bike? Ask them if they’ve seen anyone do a stupid thing while driving a car.

    And I also don’t even think anything like “our credibility” exists. People who ride bikes are not some club or team that can all be expected to act in a certain way.

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  • SkidMark June 22, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Stig10 said: “Looks like a Spynergy 4 spoke rear wheel from the few frames in the video- probably a track bike.”

    Spinergy Rev-X wheels are cassette-only so in order for it to be fixed gear it would need a rare and fairly expensive Surly Fixxer that replaces the freewheel mechanism and cassette body. Also if you watch the video closely you will notice that his left leg is always in the same position which indicates coasting to me, which is obviously not possible on a fixed gear.

    I think it’s time to stop trying to paint all fixed gear riders as irresponsible, clearly all types of cyclists can be irresponsible.

    As far as Tri-Met bus drivers go, the majority of my interactions with them they have been attentive, courteous,and respectful.I have only had a few close calls with buses, one being squeezed into the curb on Hawthorne after crossing 12th heading east. So, just like with bikes,it’s a few jerks making everyone look bad.

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  • Anonymous June 22, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    The initial articles, not this follow up article, were not balanced, they were pro-bike, taking the cyclists side without all the facts in place.

    Yes once the facts came out you corrected yourself, but would you have to have done that had you taken an objective view of the situation and used terms such as ‘accused of’ and ‘alleged to have’ instead of the original spin placed on the story.

    We all roll our eyes when these terms are used on the nightly news or other media because we are judging people by incomplete sets of facts as presented there just as everyone jumped on the anti-TriMet bus based on one side of the story.

    On the plus side you do deserve the credit for correcting yourself when you have made mistakes, but would you have had to make any correction in these cases if the articles were presented as being of interest to cyclists as opposed to being Pro-Bike, in that the cyclist was taken as being the arbiter of truth when all the facts were not in?

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  • wsbob June 22, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    As far as reporting the news goes, bikeportland seems to be, for the most part, a one man show. The site’s publisher is that man. He, that is…Maus…,reports the vast majority of news stories that are published to the site. Those stories usually consist of a fair amount of factual reporting, but they regularly have a huge helping portion of the publishers opinion about the subject of the stories included in them as well. So some people may find that any line, if one exists at bikeportland, between whether what they’re reading is fact or opinion, to be kind of murky.

    ‘Just the facts, Ma’am.’ As a regular reader of bikeportland, I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing a clearer separation made between stories of factual reporting and stories of opinion. Without a larger staff though, and specific instructions to confine reporting to ‘just the facts’, maybe it isn’t reasonable to hope for or expect that.

    For its readers, one of the great things about bikeportland, is that it costs them not so much as one thin dime to for the right to read it. In the somewhat immortal words of the great Portland retail entrepreneur Tom Peterson…”Free, is a very good Price!”. So though less bias in reporting here on bikeportland might be welcome, for what we’re all paying for the right to read it, maybe we should just smile and carry on. The reporting/writing here could be much worse.

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  • Velophile in Exile June 23, 2010 at 8:33 am

    And Bob your comments are so one-sided and anti-bike, though well-disguised, and since you absolutely must have the last word on every story on which you comment, I think your do plenty to balance out the bias even though you do contribute much if any substance.

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  • Kim June 23, 2010 at 8:58 am

    I guess I need to clarify further. Yes, everyone does stupid things and lots of people of ALL types do stupid things on purpose. The problem is that the bicycle community goes nutso when TriMet or some other vehicle driver does something stupid and is very quick to blame. But, when I cyclist does something stupid the reaction of the bike community is more like “Oh well, All road users do stupid things.”

    We should at least be reacting the same to all stupidity, but it would be better if we held ourselves to a higher standard (since cyclists are more vulnerable), as not only is there something to be said about being above reproach, but I believe that cyclists doing stupid things is more harmful to the cycling community than when vehicle drivers do something stupid.

    Remember the video that a Richmond neighborhood resident shot of bicyclists running the stop signs near his home? He didn’t stage it or doctor it up – he simply showed what was happening. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge supporter of the Idaho Stop law and campaigned heavily for it’s implementation in Oregon, but the fact remains that ALL vehicles are required by law to stop at stop signs. This guy showed how that law was largely being ignored by cyclists, yet there was a lot of outrage on this site towards the videographer, when he was doing nothing wrong and it was the cyclists who were breaking the law. I personally do not have a problem with cyclist running stop signs, when they have the right of way (just like the Idaho Stop law), but then again, I am a cyclist. I do however have a problem when cyclists run stop signs when another vehicle has the right of way and that video showed a lot of that.

    The videographer was treated very poorly by the posters on this site and was even threatened to the point he feared for his safety and pulled the video off the internet. Once again, a lot of cyclists went nutso over a videographer who did nothing wrong and went “Oh well, All road users do stupid things” over the cyclists who were flouting the law.

    Look at the reactions of the posters on this site when ever there is a motor vehicle/bicycle accident? It is automatically assumed that the motor vehicle is at fault and immediately people are posting their outrage at the motor vehicle driver – even though that driver may be the victim.

    Do you remember the cyclist who was killed while riding the wrong way on a one way street, in the traffic lane, in low visibility with I believe no lights somewhere around NE 106th and Halsey a year or 2 or 3 ago? Weeks after the facts came out indicating that the cyclist was totally at fault, there were still cyclists spouting off conspiracy theories and about how somehow the pickup driver had to have really been at fault. How cruel (to the one NOT at fault) and pathetic!

    I am ascertaining that if the cycling community showed a little more outrage toward the cyclists who are doing these things, fewer of them would do them, causing the cycling community less harm. Peer pressure even works with adults.

    I am going to ask a couple of questions here that I would love everyone to really think about. This is based on an experience I had last weekend in the Richmond neighborhood. I stopped at the 4-way stop, in my car, with my LEFT hand turn signal going, at SE 34th and Lincoln. I saw a cyclist approaching from my left. As I started into the intersection I got the feeling he was not going to stop at the stop signed, so I quit accelerating and just continued to make my left turn very slowly. The cyclist ran the stop sign, swerved around the front of my car AND gave me a dirty look. I was stunned. So stunned that I had to look back after making the turn to make sure that stop sign hadn’t somehow become invisible to that side of the intersection, but it was still as big and as red and out there as always.

    If you were the driver in this situation here, but not a cyclist and completely neutral about cycling prior to approaching this intersection, how would you feel about cyclists after that experience?

    If you were the cyclist and I as the driver quickly changed my direction of travel to the same way you were going and snapped a picture of you in your rather unique and likely recognizable clothing and then posted it along with this story (with lots more specifics) on this site and you got a lot of negative comments, how would you feel? Would you be more or less likely to do the same stupid thing again if you knew the cycling community was watching you and waiting to berate you for the harm you were doing to the cycling community?

    Jonathan – for the record, I have no problem with your reporting other than the way it may or may not incite the reactions of the cycling community to events. If there is a way to alter the reactions of the cycling community to a better way, then I am all for it, as my problem is with the way the cycling community reacts to the events.

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  • wsbob June 23, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Kim #126…I agree with you about the “…stupid cycling…” needing to at least be cut back (I got a laugh out of that phrase ! Sort of like a counterpoint to ‘moronic motoring’.). Stopping it entirely is probably an unrealistic goal. I think that more people are taking use of a bike for transportation seriously as time passes. Those of them that do so, that have a more responsible sense of how to appropriately share the road, help to counter some of the absolutely idiotic behavior on the part of other road users.

    Bikes, being different from most motor vehicles in certain very significant ways; small size, superior maneuverability, and more, can be a nightmare for road users when their riders/operators operate them erratically on the the road. Having such a point of view presented here on bikeportland though, is apparently a hard pill to swallow for some of the weblog’s readers.

    Velophile in Exile #131 …you say my comments “…are so one-sided and anti-bike…? You’re entitled to your opinion, though that one, or the other criticisms in your comment certainly aren’t fact.

    Over the several years I’ve been following this weblog, I’ve written and posted many, many comments and remarks favoring bikes, use of bikes for bikes for practical and recreational purposes, and improvements in road infrastructure for bikes. The overwhelming majority of comments I’ve posted support increases in bike use everywhere.

    Do I get responses that respond to them in a positive way? Occasionally, and those are appreciated.

    Though if I take a view that opposes the prevailing train of thought on certain subjects here on bikeportland…Watch Out! People that don’t want to allow that there may be another side to the story they would seek to impose their perception of upon the rest of the world, come creeping out of their corners to complain. It seems to bug them to have to face this reality, but I suppose that’s to be expected.

    I always wonder when I read ‘…the last word on every story…’ complaint. What is that? As far as I know, there is not much in the way of a ‘last word’ in the bikeportland format. The comments box rarely gets turned off. Comments to bikeportland stories are an ongoing conversation, unless maus decides otherwise. He’s the boss, and it’s him that decides who gets what you refer to as ‘the last word’.

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  • El Biciclero June 23, 2010 at 11:36 am


    in your comment above, you say,

    “We should at least be reacting the same to all stupidity, but it would be better if we held ourselves to a higher standard (since cyclists are more vulnerable), as not only is there something to be said about being above reproach, but I believe that cyclists doing stupid things is more harmful to the cycling community than when vehicle drivers do something stupid.”

    I think the reason cyclists react more strongly to stupidity by drivers is that if a driver does something stupid, it can kill other people, whereas if a cyclist does something stupid, any fatal results will likely be confined to the stupid person themselves. That is not to say that other consequences and scars don’t result from a cyclist doing something stupid and getting themselves killed, but the potential for physical harm to others is nearly infinitely greater when a motor vehicle is being operated with stupidity. A minor lapse in attention by a motorist that might otherwise result in scratched paint or a “fender bender” if other cars are involved, can result in serious injury or death if a cyclist is involved.

    I also believe the onus of a “higher standard” of operation should be on those who have the greatest potential to harm others with their behavior. Now that has to be balanced with one’s own sense of self-preservation and the willingness to sacrifice one’s rights to avoid being killed by someone else’s stupidity, but the “moral obligation” (if there is such a thing) to watch out for others should fall on those who can do the most damage to others.

    I know it sounds like I’m being nit-picky, but I would guess that the “damage” to the “cycling community” you are discussing here is really damage to the image of the cycling community in the eyes of motorists and the general public. I agree with you that acting in way that is “above reproach” helps create a more positive image for cyclists in general, and that image is harmed when cyclists flout laws (kudos to you for proper use of the word “flout”). However, actual physical damage to the “cycling community” (seen in the form of injuries to cyclists) is much more likely to stem from run-ins with motor vehicles. If those run-ins are caused by the cyclist, then the only one usually (at least physically) harmed is the cyclist, and so I think outrage over such incidents (as long as the facts are known and objectively considered) is mitigated because the victim “did it to themselves”. However, if a run-in between a cyclist and a driver is caused by the driver, outrage runs higher because the driver is seen as foisting their stupidity on others in a potentially vastly more harmful way, while the driver themselves would likely not experience any injuries.

    It’s already too late to avoid rambling, but to sum up, I think legally, we could “react the same to all stupidity”; any road user should be subject to citation for traffic infractions. But practically, I think cyclists get more outraged over driver stupidity because it can easily kill or maim a cyclist with virtually no consequences for the driver.

    I agree with your points as long as we distinguish between image and actual harm.

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  • Spiffy June 23, 2010 at 11:43 am

    well this certainly got a little off topic…

    I stop at stop signs/lights… I use hand signals… I even ring my bell when passing people (a nice lady thanked me for having a bell a couple days ago)…

    and those practicing “stupid cycling” are quite annoying… but so are the “moronic motorists”…

    Kim makes great points about the perception of drivers of other modes… it doesn’t take many stupid morons to ruin your image…

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  • Skidmark June 23, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    don’t become a skidmark on video.

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  • wsbob June 23, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    “…I think the reason cyclists react more strongly to stupidity by drivers is that if a driver does something stupid, it can kill other people, whereas if a cyclist does something stupid, any fatal results will likely be confined to the stupid person themselves. …” El Biciclero #134

    El…you’ve got a point, but in terms of rationalizing some of the deplorable use of bikes on the road, it’s a weak one, I would think. Road users navigating their way down the road in an erratic manner raises the stress level for all road users, regardless of what vehicle they’re driving.

    All of us that are road users have a responsibility to do our bit as road users, to help the road infrastructure function as easily and efficiently as possible. Raising the stress level that accompanies use of the road is not an improvement in the function of the road.

    I’ll see if I can make this story example short:

    Last week, driving during rush hour afternoon…west bound on Beav/Hillsdale Hwy 500-600′ east of the miserable Beav/Hillsdale, Olson Rd, Scholl’s Ferry road intersection…traffic is creeping along stop and go. I’m stopped for few seconds in the left lane. Moron westbound to Olson Rd commuter biker comes from somewhere behind me and cuts directly across the front of my vehicle, (at the time…I’m roughly a car length from the next vehicle directly ahead)….continues at an angle across both lanes of approaching east bound Beav/Hillsdale traffic to the sidewalk.

    This commuter biker didn’t even make a semblance of an effort to make proper lane changes; no hand signals… definitely none in advance of the lane changes. I hardly saw the guy before he slipped in front of my vehicle. If I’d happened to take up some slack in distance between my vehicle and the one directly ahead, just as he was cutting through, it could have been a tense moment for a lot of people. This guy looked to me like someone that should know better, so if you’re reading…knock that crap off.

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  • Velophile in Exile June 24, 2010 at 8:47 am

    Bob, if you’re starting with the obvious proposition that all road users have responsibility for their actions, why aren’t you trolling motorist blogs telling motorists who do that stuff to knock it off? Oh right, the anti-bike agenda.

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  • El Biciclero June 24, 2010 at 9:23 am


    “El…you’ve got a point, but in terms of rationalizing some of the deplorable use of bikes on the road, it’s a weak one, I would think.”

    I don’t think I was rationalizing bad cyclist behavior–in my last paragraph I attempted to clarify that legally we might treat all stupidity the same, and I stated that all road users should be subject to citation for breaking traffic laws. My “rationalization” was an attempt to explain the different emotional reactions people, especially cyclists, have when different classes of road users exercise stupidity.

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  • wsbob June 24, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    El…I think there is a rationalization on the part of some road users, that irresponsible operation of bikes on the road is no big deal, because it’s only them that gets hurt when they navigate the roads erratically. In your post, I wasn’t sure you were claiming that to be your own personal viewpoint, so maybe I should have said so back there in comment #137.

    Certainly, irresponsible, erratic, dangerous use of the roads should be discouraged at least on an equal basis. Some countries figure the heavier, dangerous vehicle should bear a comparatively higher burden; maybe so. This logic to me though, doesn’t say that because bikes with their riders are comparatively lighter weight vehicles, erratic use of them on the road should be commonly dismissed as of no consequence to road users in general.

    Poor operation of bikes on the road is of considerable consequence, increasingly so as use of bikes on the road increases. Laws to restrain this poor operation isn’t enough. Increases in collective social pressure to ride responsibly have to enter into the picture to raise compliance.

    Velophile #138…”…motorists blogs…” ?? Can’t see much else in your comment worth responding to. If anyone’s trolling on this thread, the tone and content of your comment suggests that it’s ….you.

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  • Marcus Griffith June 24, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    wsbob: As usual, you bring up a valid point. Just because bicycles have a lessor capacity for carnage than a motor vehicle does not dismiss a cyclist’s obligation for safe riding.

    The below is a link from a Trimet training session (recorded and posted online by a Trimet employee). Note the need of the bus driver to pay attention to the rear wheel and sidewalk as well as the cyclist in front of him.
    You can also hear the commentary as the audience tries to determine what the cyclist was intending to signal.

    It important that all road users have some understanding of how all vehicles on the road are going to behave.


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  • wsbob June 25, 2010 at 12:51 am

    Marcus…video produced by infamous Al M. The training film doesn’t seem to be very high quality. From it, I’m having a hard time telling exactly what happened.

    Sequence of events seems to start out with the person on bike riding along side the bus to the rear of the front entry door. Then after rounding the curve across the intersection, the POB suddenly appears ahead of the bus, and starts to signal with the left arm. I’m not sure the commentary was correct about the POB’s intentions. “…attempting to cross the intersection…” is not what I’m guessing he was trying to do, but rather, that he was trying to take the lane to pass the car parked on the curb along the narrow street.

    For now, that’s all I’ll say of what I think about it.

    It would have been interesting to hear, after having watched it, how the audience and the instructor critiqued what they saw; what they thought they saw happening; what the bus driver and the bike rider did or didn’t do that they might should have.

    Marcus…think about starting a discussion about a traffic situation like this one, over in the forums. Better format for this over there…besides, I believe maus is paying to keep it open. More use of it would help to justify keeping it open.

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  • wsbob June 25, 2010 at 12:55 am

    Clarification: “…that he was trying to take the lane so as to be positioned in front of the bus as bike and bus moved past the car parked next to the curb along the narrow street.

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  • Kim June 25, 2010 at 6:13 am

    El Biciclero – RE: #134 – I meant physical harm as well as mental/emotional (huge for a motorist involved in an accident that was the fault of the cyclist, but causes physical harm to the cyclist) and harm to an image or reputation.

    You bring up excellent points and do a great job of getting them across. I also agree with all of them. But, sadly, I don’t think most motorists care.

    At this point, the majority of tax payers are motorists and we need them to be willing to give us tax dollars to build infrastructure, which will make cycling safer.

    It is too bad that we are in this position of begging, but if they do not like us, they are not going to give us money. I just wish everyone would realize that cycling benefits everyone – including motorists.

    wsbob – “Poor operation of bikes on the road is of considerable consequence, increasingly so as use of bikes on the road increases. Laws to restrain this poor operation isn’t enough. Increases in collective social pressure to ride responsibly have to enter into the picture to raise compliance.” Perfectly said! Thanks!! That is what we are lacking here – “collective social pressure.”

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  • El Biciclero June 25, 2010 at 11:18 am

    bob & Kim–

    I think there are a lot of debates to be had here, but the underlying theme seems to be that there is an apparent lack of education among both drivers and cyclists, and each group seems to think the other is the one that needs educating. If I might be allowed to be a little corny, it almost seems like we (drivers and bike riders) need to decide whether we want to stay married or get divorced. Staying married (sharing existing infrastructure peacefully) will mean a lot of hard work and counseling, a lot of admitting where we’re wrong, a lot of forgiveness, and a lot of education in the form of learning how the other operates and why they do the things they do.

    On the other hand, if we opt to get a divorce (create totally separated bike “infrastructure”), it will mean a lot of expense and fighting over money and how to divide things up and who gets the kids. OK, just kidding about the kids, but I think you can see the other parallels.

    “At this point, the majority of tax payers are motorists”

    –Yes they are. I’m one of them. I just happen to ride my bike to work a lot. I’m perfectly willing to give myself my tax dollars. I just wish we could put some kind of tracking device on “tax dollars” to see just where they all come from for local street costs. Even without knowing that, though, it is galling that people who choose to ride bikes or otherwise not drive are treated as children (“Eat your vegetables and clean your room; THEN we’ll talk about bike infrastructure…”) while “car infrastructure” gets built like gangbusters–and built in such a way to actually encourage poor driving and accommodate lack of skill. If the building of “car infrastructure” is not dependent on better driver behavior, why should building of “bike infrastructure” be dependent on better cyclist behavior? For the record, I’m for “staying married” and am not a big fan of separated infrastructure, but the dynamic at work is pervasive and applies to more than just funding.

    On the topic of operator “stupidity” on the road: My “official” position is that all road users should comply with traffic laws. Cyclists should stop for stop signs, yield to pedestrians, ride a predictable line, signal turns, etc. So should drivers. Complying with the rules, however, implies knowing the rules, which is where I think a lot of road users fall down.

    When it comes to emotional reactions to stupid behavior on the road, think about what you would tell a kid who was throwing a knife in the air to see if it sticks in the ground when it lands. Then think about what you would tell a kid who was lighting and throwing sticks of dynamite to see what would blow up. Both are stupid.

    Also, sorry, but I hate the “police yourselves” idea. I’m not going to go around correcting other cyclists’ notions of how to ride until I’m having such a great day that I feel like I just need a good flipping off. Or verbal assault. Or even physical assault. The best I can do in this realm is be a good example. I can get yelled at enough for just doing that…

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  • wsbob June 25, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    “… but the underlying theme seems to be that there is an apparent lack of education among both drivers and cyclists …” El Biciclero

    Drivers get a lot more familiarization, introduction and education in how to properly and legally operate their vehicles on the road than do people that ride bikes. Even people that don’t take a drivers ed course prior to becoming a driver, commonly spend a lot of hours in their life leading up to the point where they become a driver…riding in motor vehicles and watching drivers operate and navigate a vehicle through traffic on the road. On television and in movies, they see many examples of different types of motor vehicles in operation on the street…some good, some bad.

    In the case of bicycle operation, there’s just very little of this kind of incidental or formal introduction into how to properly navigate a bike down the road amidst bigger, heavier motor vehicles. Try think of a single scene from a movie or television show, depicting a person on a bike riding down the road, approaching an intersection and properly signaling in advance of a turn…if they’re shown signaling at all.

    Some people actually take drivers ed courses in which the car they drive has a placard attached to the back of the car: ‘Student Driver’. Everyone seeing that placard is informed the driver is a novice learning operation of the vehicle and also, the rules of the road as it pertains to that vehicle.

    For some of the people that are preparing to take a bike on the road, there could be a great benefit from them using a similar approach to the one I just described. On an ‘on the road’ instruction outing, they would wear jerseys with ‘Student Cyclist’ on the back and front of their jersey. In some simple, clear way, the instructor leading the students would be distinguished from student cyclists. So they’d all go down the road together, groups of 4 or 5, properly signaling, making lane transitions and turns, etc., etc. .

    I’m inclined to think that other road users…people of all ages…seeing such a serious intent by cyclists to learn proper use of the road, would be hugely impressed in a positive way.

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  • Velophile in Exile June 25, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Virtually everyone who rides a bike also holds a driver license and so virtually all cyclists have the basic knowledge skills to know how to operate a bicycle properly in traffic. Some cyclists just don’t obey the laws — but hey, at least they don’t kill 42,000 Americans each year, right?

    You might understand that if you ever rode a bike, Bob. But we all know you are just an anti-bike advocate who can’t stand cyclists “getting in your way” while you are driving.

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  • El Biciclero June 25, 2010 at 4:35 pm


    “Even people that don’t take a drivers ed course prior to becoming a driver, commonly spend a lot of hours in their life leading up to the point where they become a driver…riding in motor vehicles and watching drivers operate and navigate a vehicle through traffic on the road.”

    Right. When I was 8 years old I understood how to steer a car, that green means go and red means stop (unless you’re making a right turn), and you’re supposed to flip the lever and turn on the flasher before you make a turn. That doesn’t mean I had the skill or judgment (or leg length) to drive a car. Did I know the default speed limit for an alley? A residential street? A business district? Did I know what to do if the car started to skid on ice or gravel? Who gets the right of way at uncontrolled intersections? Four-way stops? What does “Yield” mean? How do I merge into freeway traffic? If my dad was a chronic speeder and tailgater who honked to scare every cyclist he saw, is that what I think is normal and safe?

    Sure, I could apply all those same principles to bike riding, which I also knew how to do when I was 8. I knew I was supposed to stay on the sidewalk if there was one, or off to the right-hand edge of the road otherwise. I wasn’t allowed to ride at night or more than a mile away from our house. I always used the crosswalk and made “pedestrian” left turns if I had to. Did I know how to signal turns? No. Did I have the skill (or big enough hands) to use hand brakes? No. Did I know how to change a flat tire? No. Fine.

    My point here is that if we are going to let observation and life experience be our only educational tools, cyclists and drivers both would have about the same level of knowledge regarding how to operate their vehicles. The education that is missing for cyclists is how to graduate from 8-year-old riding to grown-up riding. Cyclists just need to understand that they should follow all the same rules that they should have learned by riding around in cars (or taking driver’s Ed, or just passing the [way-too-easy] driver’s exam), with a few additions thrown in to keep bikes out of the way of the all-important auto drivers. Too many cyclists don’t learn this, and use fear-based principles for riding that probably put them in more danger than doing things correctly.

    The education that is missing for drivers is knowledge of the actual rules of the road as they pertain to both other drivers and cyclists. I’m sure you saw the recent spate of articles (e.g., http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2010/05/27/110258.htm) about how 20% of currently licensed drivers would flunk a watered-down version of their state’s driver’s test. I took that test (scored 100%) and as I recall, not one question pertained to how to drive around cyclists. The knowledge is lacking even after supposedly studying and taking tests. Many drivers operate under made-up rules based on what they might observe other bad drivers doing, or what annoys them or causes them delays.

    Again, my point is that educational efforts are of limited value unless the student cares about what they are learning. In that respect, I would bet many cyclists care a lot more about how be safe on the road than motorists. If a “serious” cyclist wants to take a course, the LAB offers them periodically (http://www.bikeleague.org/programs/education/courses.php) for anyone who is interested.

    It almost sounds like you are advocating cyclist licensing as a way for cyclists to gain respect among motorists. That might work, but I know that every day I observe all kinds of licensed drivers for whose driving skills I have no respect. Licensing is next to meaningless, and the only thing that justifies it for drivers is precisely that unskilled drivers have such a dramatic potential to kill other people with their lack of skill.

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  • wsbob June 26, 2010 at 12:00 am

    El…definitely not advocating cyclist licensing; do a search for older comments of mine for verification.

    “…is that if we are going to let observation and life experience be our only educational tools, cyclists and drivers both would have about the same level of knowledge regarding how to operate their vehicles. …” El B

    I’ve never heard anyone suggest that observation and life experience should be solely relied upon for educational tools to prepare people to use the road.

    Competently riding a bike in traffic is not the same thing as similarly driving a motor vehicle in traffic. Different skill sets are involved.

    What I was trying to describe in the earlier comment, is that from an early age, many people have models in the form of drivers of cars they’ve ridden in…that can serve as an introduction to how to properly operate motor vehicles, once they themselves get to the point where they get personal instruction and training in how to do that.

    It’s been the situation in…I’ll say…our country, for lack of being specifically familiar with how the following would apply…that people whose transportation vehicle is a bike, commonly don’t have that kind of model. Sure…there are LAB classes available, but taking them is not the same thing as, from an early age, regularly riding around with an experienced person, knowledgeable in how to navigate a bike amidst traffic, standing as an example to the person that eventually sets out on their own on a bike, navigating their way through traffic.

    Earlier, I used the phrase ‘social pressure’ to try describe a means by which a higher level of competent bike in traffic operation might be brought about. Less forceful, more natural would be ‘social consciousness’. Through these means, members of any society learn a big part of what they need to know to accomplish basic tasks.

    “… Virtually everyone… …” velo #147

    You’re certainly entitled to say that. I wouldn’t. People under the age of 16 don’t have them. Because of greater availability of other transportation options, numbers of people of all ages that never get drivers licenses may be increasing. And besides, as I suggested in the above response to El’s comments, the skills required to operate bikes and motor vehicles in traffic are different; they’re not directly transferable between the two different vehicles.

    p.s. to anyone still reading besides El Biciclero; I have no idea who this velophile person is; I’m fairly certain they’ve never met me. Consequently, this person wouldn’t know whether or not I ride a bike.

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  • Kim July 12, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    @Verso just tweeted “Hey @bikeportland: a cyclist just blew the red light and gave me the finger as I honked. This is why you can’t have nice things.” This illustrates my point exactly. I do not know if she is a cyclist, but I am pretty sure she is a tax payer and we want her money for stuff and some a-hole pissed her off and now she doesn’t want to give us her money.

    A-hole cyclist = pissed driver = no $ for us = harm to cyclists.

    We as a cycling community need to address the root of the problem and that is the cyclist. Now let’s see some outrage and social pressure!

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) July 12, 2010 at 5:34 pm


    wow. i completely disagree with you. yes, the conduct of some people on bikes is bad, but there jerks on both sides.

    The root problem is that our culture is built around cars and there are simply too many of them on our streets. The root problem is far from “the cyclist”… the root problem is a transportation system that and people in it that are completely stressed out because it does not adequately serve everyone trying to use it. the result of that are stress, anger, and “jerks”.

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  • Kim July 12, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    Jonathan – I wish you would go back and read my previous posts. I am not talking about the problem of too many cars, but lack of support (including financial) for cycling. However, even your problem of too many cars needs money to solve it.

    What you say is all well and good, but the reality of it is that most tax payers are NOT cyclists and if they don’t like us, they are not going to support us. By ignoring bad behavior in cyclists we are allowing bad cyclists to harm our reputation and thereby harm us. We need to take a stand against everyone and everything that is harmful to the cycling community, not brush bad behavior by cyclist off as “there jerks on both sides.”

    Drivers do not really care if there are bad drivers too because when they are asked to donate (pay taxes) they do not think about them, just how it will benefit themselves as drivers.

    Remember 2 wrongs do not make a right and regardless of what bad things drivers so, bad cycling REALLY hurts us.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) July 12, 2010 at 6:31 pm

      I hear you Kim. You are jumping to the conclusion that I am brushing off jerk riders. That’s not the case. I absolutely agree with you that poor behavior by people on bikes is an issue and it has a negative impact on moving things forward. I just don’t think “we” should have to “stand against everyone and everything that is harmful to the cycling community”. That’s noble, I and I feel that with you, but I’m looking bigger picture. First, I don’t see a “cycling community”. It’s a community, which has many people in it that care about making biking a safe and comfortable option. There are also many people that primarily drive cars.

      my point of contention with your outlook and the outlook of that person on Twitter is this notion that “I won’t care about bikes until everyone on one is perfect” That just smacks of prejudice to me. It’s unrealistic and it’s very car-centric and, while I agree that no one should be jerks, I’m not going to accept that line of reasoning and be told I will only be respected until all of “my kind” are good and wholesome road users. sorry… this isn’t an easy thing to communicate in a typed comment. i think we’d be on the same in no time if we were talking in person! ;-).

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  • Michael M. July 12, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    I found Jarrett’s account of shared bus-and-2-wheeled-only lanes in Paris to be thought-provoking. It makes so much sense to me, to prioritize public and low-carbon transit modes by dedicating space just for them. But long, involved, heated discussions like the one this story provoked makes me wonder if something like this could ever work here. Even if people thought (as I do) that something like this would be desirable, do we have the temperament for it? We don’t seem to have the political structures to make something like this happen, nor are our advocacy organizations structured even to suggest it. Instead we divide ourselves into ever more refined constituencies (cyclists! transit riders! pedestrians! motorists! freight haulers!) and bicker with each other.

    My favorite bit: “It’s simple: the default setting for pedestrian signals is green, and they turn red only when your safety requires it.” If only! Sounds like heaven.

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  • are July 12, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    how come *ssh*le motorist equals p*ssed off cyclist/pedestrian does not equal no money for highways? what am i supposed to do about jerks who happen to ride bikes? not my problem. i do what i do and i demand my fair space. period.

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