Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Photo: A ‘Don’t Share the Road’ license plate

Posted by on July 21st, 2010 at 3:07 pm

A reader sent me an interesting photo via Twitter last week. The photo is of the license plate on a convertible BMW that was spotted in Northwest Portland. It shows an unintended use of Oregon’s ‘Share the Road’ license plate…

“Here’s a thought – Use the sidewalk.”
(Photo: @r3v0lt on Twitter)

I wonder if the person who bought it knows that proceeds from the sale of these plates are shared between Cycle Oregon and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance. According to the BTA, for the 2009 fiscal year, they netted $12,300 in income from the plates. The money, which is unrestricted, was spent on various programs including their (now defunct) Eye-to-Eye campaign, the Bike Commute Challenge, the Share the Road safety class, and others.

Now there’s a thought.

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  • Ken July 21, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Also… I’m pretty sure altering a license plate is illegal.

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  • Jerry_W July 21, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    The owner must be proud to be getting his message out. Not sure giving him this exposure is a good thing, like reinforcing bad behavior.

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  • OregonJeff July 21, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    A classless ex-yuppie-turned-wage-slave that clearly doesn’t know the rules of the road and quite possibly only uses their brain to keep their ears from slamming together.

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  • Patrickz July 21, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Nearly funny..but inviting trouble. Besides, cycling on the sidewalk is illegal (isn’t it?)

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  • Shetha July 21, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Patrickz – biking is only illegal on sidewalks for most of downtown. It’s legal elsewhere but I think you’re supposed to be going at walking pace, not 15 mph. Anyway, I am a rude generalizing person towards folks who drive bimmers and tend to yell “BIMMER ALERT” when I see a BMW doing something arrogant and insensitive to other road users. So, without further ado: BIMMER ALERT!

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) July 21, 2010 at 3:23 pm


    Yes, riding on sidewalks is illegal in downtown in the area bounded by SW Jefferson, Front Avenue, NW Hoyt and 13th Avenue. there are some exceptions for police and security personnel… read more in City Ordinance.

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  • eric July 21, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    So, it is true what they say about BMW drivers and porcupines.

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  • Steve July 21, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    ‘Anyone heard of Photoshop?

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  • OnTheRoad July 21, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    It looks likes the messages and the NO Circle are part of the license plate cover.

    So the license plate isn’t altered. I think it would fall in the same category as those polarizing license plate covers that keep red-light cameras from reading the plate number.

    Maybe the wife got the bicycle plate, and the husband is trying to negate her message.

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  • Tonyt
    Tonyt July 21, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    It is illegal to obscure “Oregon” on a vehicle plate.

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  • Babygorilla July 21, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Clever. It doesn’t seem that the plate is altered in any way, just an elaborate frame.

    Molehill that I predict will be turned into mountain, at least on this site and throughout the “community”. Hope nothing happens to the car to which this plate is attached or the occupants inside.

    Let the overreaction begin!

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) July 21, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Just want folks to know that I am watching these comments very closely and have already deleted FIVE of them. I may not catch everything, but I don’t tolerate comments that incite violence or that make personal insults — no matter who the subject of those insults is.


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  • Pete July 21, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Sure, I’ll admit it’s clever, but it reinforces what I said a few months ago: Bicyclists – the only minority you can get away with publicly insulting and still be PC.

    You wouldn’t see someone getting away with altering a veteran’s license plate, for instance, with an anti-war slogan (or even an OSU/UofO plate with “Go Ducks/Beavers” for that matter ;). Though it’d be legal the backlash would be greater than a bunch of angry comments on a website that preaches to a choir.

    Wait’ll the bOregonian gets a hold of it…

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  • Babygorilla July 21, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    “It is illegal to obscure “Oregon” on a vehicle plate.”

    Likely not, as long as the numbers, letters, and stickers are visible as it appears that nothing was done to the plate here, its just an elaborate frame. ORS 803.550

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  • Spiffy July 21, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    I agree that it’s inviting trouble… especially on a convertible yuppie-mobile like that…

    and I also agree that it’s illegal to obscure your license plate… an out-of-state cop would have no idea what state to run your plate under and you’d be pulled over super fast… but there are a LOT of idiots with their plate obscured… I’m too lazy/busy to do it but somebody could easily report the obscured plate to the police…

    and it’s pretty obvious they don’t know the law about bicycles and sidewalks… it would be especially hilarious if this car was in a section of town that it was illegal to ride on the sidewalk… makes me want to carry a copy of the law just in case I see the car…

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  • Brewcaster July 21, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    That is a nice thought. He should park the car and use the sidewalk.

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  • peejay July 21, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Or, it could be ironic.

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  • Spiffy July 21, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Babygorilla #14, the letters O, R, E, G, O, and N are obscured at the top of the plate… sounds like it breaks the law…

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  • Vance Longwell July 21, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    That’s an Oregon plate?

    It’s just somebody’s opinion, for Pete’s sake. There’s no difference between that, and somebody with a, “One less car”, sticker on an appropriately obnoxious conveyance. Many here are responding as though threatened, somehow. About the time you wanna put your fingers in your ears, and start chanting, “lalalalalalalala”, really loud, you really owe it to yourself to, at least, figure out what is so threatening about some one expressing an opinion.

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  • Hart July 21, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    “When man invented the bicycle, he reached the peak of his attainments. Here was a machine of precision and balance for the convenience of man. And (unlike subsequent inventions for manยดs convenience) the more he used it, the fitter his body became. Here, for once was a product of manยดs brain that was entirely beneficial to those who used it, and of no harm or irritation to others. Progress should have stopped when man invented the bicycle.”
    ~ Elizabeth West

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  • Amos July 21, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    Seems pretty cut and dry to me. It’s just plain illegal.

    ORS 803.550 Illegal alteration or display of plates; penalty. (1) A person commits the offense of illegal alteration or illegal display of a registration plate if the person knowingly does any of the following…

    (d) Owns and causes or permits a vehicle to display a registration plate that is illegally altered in a manner described in subsection (2) of this section or that is illegally displayed as described in subsection (3) of this section.

    (2) A registration plate is illegally altered for purposes of this section if the plate has been altered, modified, covered or obscured in any manner including, but not limited to, the following:

    (a) Any change of the color, configuration, numbers, letters or material of the plate.

    (b) Any material or covering, other than a frame or plate holder, placed on, over or in front of the plate that alters the appearance of the plate.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) July 21, 2010 at 3:56 pm


    i think what’s threatening about this is that the person with these feelings is piloting a vehicle that some courts have considered a deadly weapon and that weighs several thousand pounds just inches away from fellow roadway users who are quite vulnerable to any contact that might occur.

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  • r3v0lt July 21, 2010 at 3:57 pm


    “Anyone heard of Photoshop?”

    As the person who sent this picture to Jonathan, I can assure you it’s not altered in any way. It was taken by my ex-wife, sent to me via MMS, and almost immediately tweeted to Jonathan.

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  • Martie McQuain July 21, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    I definitely wouldn’t park that car in public, if I were that guy.

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  • Esther July 21, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    amos is right, and it is a Class B traffic violation, which is equivalent to driving 21-30 mph over the speed limit:

    (6) The offense described in this section, illegal alteration or illegal display of a registration plate, is a Class B traffic violation. [1985 c.243 ยง2; 2007 c.192 ยง1]

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  • Esther July 21, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    A class B violation can be issued up to $360 fine.

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  • Andrew July 21, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    @Martie (#25)

    I’m sure s/he probably doesn’t have to, and it probably lives in a reserved space in the basement of a condo tower.

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  • encephalopath July 21, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    And should that car be involved in an “incident” with a bicycle the driver wouldn’t be helping himself out any with those things prominently displayed when it comes to convincing the court that it wasn’t intentional.

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  • Babygorilla July 21, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    #19, 22, 26 and 27:

    Considering the context of the statue, a court would likely interpret the use of the term “letters” in the statute to refer to the particular letters in the plate’s specific ID, not the letters spelling “Oregon.”

    But, again, feel free to pursue a citizen citation against this scourge of the streets. This horrible menage who terrifies all of us vunerable right of way users.

    Wait, there’s actually no evidence that this person poses any danger to the public. Unless I’m missing something, its just an opinion that differs from most of the readers of this site. Then again, that seems to be enough to most here to vilify someone and conclude that “this ignorant person” has “the rotten life they have chosen”.

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  • Babygorilla July 21, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    And I think we’re halfway up the mountain, looking back toward the molehill.

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  • peejay July 21, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    What’s so funny is if the driver is busted for this violation, they’ll be required to remove the offending covering, and must then drive around with an unmodified “share the road” plate, thus advertising an opinion they do not agree with. That’s pretty good karma, I’d say.

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  • Cemetery Rider July 21, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Ok, the scary part of that being an elaborate license plate frame is that someone is actually producing and selling those–likely there are others out there…

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  • weastsider July 21, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Monday, me and my toddler (in the trailer) got the ole revved-engine and brush-by a bright yellow convertible Corvette with personalized license plates YBSLO. I kind of laughed at the fact he raced by me to get stuck behind traffic.

    It struck me that somebody would be such a **personal insult deleted** in such an obviously recognizable, expensive vehicle with easy to remember plates. Not everybody is polite and charitable. **personal insult deleted**

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  • Ed July 21, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    I think it’s funny. All the car needs now is a “bicycles allowed full lane” bumper sticker.

    Or “If you don’t like how I drive, stay off the side walk”.

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  • Nick July 21, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    I feel bad for this guy’s beemer. It is not the car’s fault the guy is an idiot.

    Oh! And don’t park on Mississippi Ave any time soon. I think the riders there do carry a set of house keys to key a car with.


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  • A.K. July 21, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Vance Longwell:

    I agree, it’s an opinion, albeit a stupid one. I think its funny how people can’t resist turning their car into a rolling billboard for something they’d probably never have the balls to tell someone face-to-face, or something they’d never walk around repeating over and over out loud (which is what is essentially being done here).

    I to dislike those “one less car” stickers, or those “infinite MPG” patches you can buy at Powells and slap on your $200 messenger bag. Just shut up and let your riding do the talking! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • geezer July 21, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    Ok, the scary part of that being an elaborate license plate frame is that someone is actually producing and selling those–likely there are others out there…

    Actually, I would find that comforting — it just becomes the PDX version of TruckNutz. It’s more scary if Bimmer Dude went to all the time and trouble to make a one-off version. It means they’re more serious.

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  • shirinworship July 21, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    Use the sidewalk? Why? So you can actually increase injuries running into pedestrians and people exiting buildings? ***portion of comment deleted due to a threat of property damage****

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  • OregonJeff July 21, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    @geezer (#37): If you’ve got a beef with TruckNutz then you’ve got a beef with my bike. ;P

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  • dojo mouse July 21, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    Is what I’m feeling now… “road rage”?

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  • jv July 21, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    Come on, this really is not that big a deal – you can go to any number of online retailers and order a custom “vanity” lisence plate frame for $20. While it is funny that s/he supported BTA, this is not some product that is being mass-produced. I do applaud him (or her – why are we assuming it is a guy) for being able to color-match the plate to the background so perfectly. It appears to be a sticker over the bike though, so that may not be fully legal, but that just inspires me to make the bike on my Share the Road plates more custom. I think I’ll mod my STR plate bike to be rocking Aerospokes.

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  • Pete July 21, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Andrew (#28): “I’m sure s/he probably doesn’t have to, and it probably lives in a reserved space in the basement of a condo tower.”

    Maybe s/he leaves it parked there and rides his bike everywhere? (on the sidewalk, of course… ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  • OregonJeff July 21, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    @dojo mouse (#41): If you’re on a bike that better be “sidewalk rage” or you’re no bueno.

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  • Dudewith July 21, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    I’m a biker, and have worked in shops for several years around the country. This plate cover is fricken funny. Everyone needs to step back take a deep breath and thank the constitution for the right to freedom speech.

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  • q'Tzal July 21, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    Do we have a public access database of Oregon licence plates?
    It would probably be an easy bet that this individual has a history of using his vehicle to threaten and intimidate cycylists near where he lives.
    If you aren’t up for a 4chan style assault on his private life some one could post fliers in his neigboorhood asking for any cyclist who recognizes this vehicle to come forward and tell their story of encountering him.
    This could just be a stunt to anger people but we are a small demographic and the rate of return on his effort is low. It is much easier to alienate an entire race, gender or sexual preference but he chosr this for a reason: find that reason and solve him.

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  • Marcus Griffith July 21, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    q’Tzal: Borderline threat there. Not good.

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  • pfarthing6 July 21, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    Riding on sidewalks is perfectly legal, it is described in the Oregon Cycling handbook. Few exceptions to this, unless posted otherwise, or downtown. Though that police and security can ride on sidewalks downtown and civilians can’t is pretty lame. But I guess we can’t ride our horses on the sidewalk either.

    As for the plate, he/she will get a ticket for it soon enough.

    But, the message should be food for thought that many cyclists really piss drivers off (ok, the converse is true too, but beeing an a$$hole cyclist won’t make it better, will it?).

    I ride every day myself, but I drive too. And so often when I’m driving I encounter cyclists thay may be riding legally, but are causing a traffic jam in the process.

    Like those folks that ride on SE39th and Hawthorne and similar where there is a lot of conjestion or high traffic flow and not much room. If they are commuting, there are many alternate routes available, both as fast and definitely safer. If they are sight seeing, sheesh, how about getting off the bike already, walk around, and enjoy the sights!

    But, even riding “as far right as is praticable” in such areas, though legal, shows a serious lack of common sense and consideration.

    For as much effort that is put out by the bike community on trying to change the car people, it might nice to also see the same effort to curb the rise of inconsiderate (lawful or not) riding habits that serve to perpetuate the bikes vs. cars attitudes.

    Sorry, just putting that out there as I know many folks are are put off by how cyclists ride and so I can understand where the Beemer person is coming from.

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  • BURR July 21, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    More than likely this guy will get his first ticket from the City of Portland meter people, when he parks anywhere in the central city with metered parking, they do ticket for missing or altered license plates.

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  • Dan Kaufman July 21, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    It’s not funny, it’s not a molehill. This is the same thinking behind the intentional run downs we get to read about on this site much too often.

    Remember this funny little video? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFiwir7aiHI

    The cyclist with a slash-trough and the corresponding comment are a staking of a claim, a tossing of the gauntlet. He is (I’m going WAY out on a limb here by calling him a he) is telling you from the back of his 1+ ton vehicle that he does not think you belong on the road. It is, in fact a veiled threat.

    Is it any wonder people don’t feel safe on the road with such casual disregard (masked as humor)?

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  • Marc July 21, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    Tomorrow’s headline:

    Man with small reproductive organ buys cliche red sports car to compensate – breaks arm patting himself on back for clever license plate frame.

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  • q'Tzal July 21, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    #47 Marcus Griffin
    Perhaps I should phrase it in a less vauge manner to unveil my threat.
    I see this person; of whom I know nothing, as falling into one of 3 catagories as far as mind set:
    1) clueless and therefore innocent
    2) a loud mouth looking for laughs by riling people up; also quite legal
    3) an actual road hazard that has or will commit punishable offenses.
    Now I have to agree with Vance: this is a free speech issue regardless of license plate legality issues. Quite frankly I wish ALL of this mindset were required to have. A “I hate cyclists” plate: it’d make them easier to avoid.
    But I diverge on what to do about the driver; we don’t know if this person IS or IS NOT a threat to public safety. The police don’t have the time, money nor manpower to investigate a crime that may not have even happened. The cycling community would have to do it ourselves. It would probably be best to hire off duty Portland traffic police to perform surveilance only the driver in question, that is if you want a witness statement that the court would not view as subjective and biased.

    If you’re not willing to do anything to prove the guilt or innocence of this driver then even if you know he is guilty you are left with the same course of action in response to mindset #1 & #2: shut up and ignore it.

    Talk is cheap, whining is fun but neither achieves anything.
    Either way drive and ride as if they are out to get you: they might just be.

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  • Red Five July 21, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    Well in a town where Adolf Hitler is considered funny, then this must be absolutely hilarious. And it’s on a German car to boot!

    Please people, grow a little bit of skin. This is somebody expressing their opinion. Nothing more.

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  • Bikieboy July 21, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    Eric (7) – no one took the bait on your joke…are you going to provide the punchline or should I?

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  • hanmade July 21, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    I think it’s funny. The guy’s obviously a moron, what goes around comes around. The other day i saw a car with the sticker “One Less Bicycle” I laughed at that one too. Life’s too short to get hung up on the small stuff. Eventually, we will win, it’s just a matter of time, and time (for oil) is running out.

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  • Lambda July 21, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    #53 Bikieboy-
    The difference between a porcupine and a BMW?
    True as ever…

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  • Roger July 21, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    Don’t tell the folks in St. Charles County, Mo., about this. Some politician might think it’s a good idea and try to push the plate through the Missouri legislature!

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  • Winnie Ruth July 21, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    That’s illegal!

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  • Toby July 21, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    I met the guy who has this car. Its actually an E28 BMW. An E28 is a second generation 5 series. I really like old BMW’s as well as bikes. So anyway I saw the plate on his car and approached him and said “it appears you like bikes….” He chuckled a bit and said No! I told him I ride to work on my bike and recreate on it as well. He was quite upset with Portlands fetish of bikes as it is not the same in his home country… Thats another story.

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  • eric July 21, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    #55 lambda and #53 bikieboy:
    Top Gear “Cock-o-meter”

    (from season 10 episode 10 of Top Gear)

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  • jim July 21, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    Yall need to chill out a little bit. This is just some tasteless humor that only offends and dosn’t hurt anyone. He should get a big fat citation though for covering up the wordage on the plate. I doubt if he is supporting BTA as he probably bought the car with the plates allready there and was embarassed by them

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  • shirtsoff July 21, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    See, that’s something I would do BECAUSE it finances bicycle infrastructure and is self-deprecating (I am primarily a cyclist but do drive from time-to-time). We shouldn’t be hasty to condemn the individual owner of this vehicle until we know the actual intention(s). Cautious reservation is more than advised, but sometimes humor – however irresponsible – is lost when it becomes a still image.

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  • Pete July 22, 2010 at 12:16 am

    Toby (#58): Ah, I thought there was something different about the taillights! E28 had the “eta” engine, designed for fuel efficiency, back when BMW was innovative. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Thanks for the clarification!
    Pete (with probably the only B5 S4 Avant sporting “Share the Road” plates in Silicon Valley ;).

    eric (#59): classic! Yeah, Jonathan’s had a busy day editing out the punchline…

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  • n8m July 22, 2010 at 12:30 am

    Yeah this is funny. This guy probably has lots of friends.

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  • roger noehren July 22, 2010 at 12:38 am

    Having just read the knee jerk comments following the Ladd’s “trip wire” story on oregonlive.com by mostly non-choir members and the above discourse, I can only conclude that cyclists who post comments have significantly higher IQs than drivers who post comments (we’re more literate at any rate).

    The owner of this car is clearly in their (overcrowded) camp.

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  • jennifer July 22, 2010 at 12:47 am

    Wow. SO I admit I didnt read every comment .. but I would like to share my recent experience…

    After living in Portland for the last 5 years, sans car, working as a bike messenger for a number of those years, my mom gave me her old honda, mostly so I could take my doggie out to the gorge to go hiking (he got attacked by some loose dogs in the city, so he is totally more relaxed in the woods). REGARDLESS, I have driven in the city a few times this month, and I TOTALLY thought I would be the most courteous driver EVER.

    I doubt myself now.

    I drive my car from a cyclist perspective (hey I did it for a living) but honestly, sometimes its really hard. Im always checking my mirrors, and giving right of way, but it’s not always enough. Which is why it is sooo important for cyclists to bike defensively.

    Ive had some cyclists make really sketchy moves in front of my car in the last week. I wanted to shout out some advice at the time (hey I’m in the turning lane, dont cut in front of me to make the same turn or you could get hit…), but I know its not worth it. I think that you learn how to be a safer cyclist over time, …sort of through your own perception and having someone yell advice to you on the road is unhelpful.

    That said.. that dude with those sidewalk plates is a total ***personal insult deleted***. I’m sure he/she would love to dodge cyclists coming off the sidewalk pavement when he/she is trying to grab a drink at the martini bar. Boo.

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  • Paul Johnson July 22, 2010 at 1:07 am

    This guy’s attitude definitely seems Californian, and a good excuse for using the death penalty to clean up human garbage.

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  • CaptainKarma July 22, 2010 at 1:25 am

    A) He probably gets his inspiration from Glenn Beck.

    B) If and when this guy hurts someone on a bicycle, or even a pedestrian, his plate will definetely convict him in a court. Not so funny for him.

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  • jv July 22, 2010 at 2:37 am

    Toby (#58), this is the first actual piece of interesting information about this photo yet. And to be honest, I was most confused as to how this could be a BMW convertible, as I thought the convertible was the E30, and the tailights didn’t look right…thanks for clarifying. I am glad I am not the only one on the site that likes old European cars. I am curious to hear more details about what the home country is of this BMW owner where they don’t like bikes…or if you can guess.

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  • Duncan July 22, 2010 at 7:52 am

    I just think it is in poor taste- but beyond that I would just wave and move along.

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  • spare_wheel July 22, 2010 at 8:27 am

    “Like those folks that ride on SE39th and Hawthorne…”

    You sound like one of those cagers that screams by me at 35 mph when I am riding the posted speed limit. 25. TWENTY FIVE!

    I guess you also did not notice the many POSTED signs with the little bike symbol and the words “BIKE IN LANE” (an inattentive cager…*shock*).

    Hawthorne is a designated bikeway. Please stop being a baby about it, and share the road.

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  • Pete July 22, 2010 at 8:40 am

    Paul: if he was truly Californian he’d have had the turn signals removed… ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  • toddistic July 22, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Sharing the road goes both ways.

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  • q'Tzal July 22, 2010 at 9:25 am

    #67 captaincarma
    The only thing that will insure a conviction of a automotive driver injuring or killing a cyclist is a clear video of the incident or certified expert witness testimony: too many get off with a warning or slap on the wrist with anything less.

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  • RexMarx003 July 22, 2010 at 9:58 am

    I have seen this many times. The guy lives on the hill in a nice part of West Linn. In addition to this old BMW he has two Audi’s and a Delorean. This guy is a real gas burner.
    I wonder if I should have a talk (polite) with him and this nasty license plate.

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  • Michael M. July 22, 2010 at 10:37 am

    It would be amusing with the bicycle image crossed out and the phrase “Curb Your Enthusiasm” instead of “Use the Sidewalk” (which is just plain bad advice). As it is, it’s just obnoxious. But people put lots of slogans on their transport vehicles (cars & bikes) that are, or can be, obnoxious to others. To each his own.

    (Note: I have a Portland Water Bureau “I Only Drink TAP WATER” sticker on my bike. I’m sure some people find that obnoxious.)

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  • EmGee July 22, 2010 at 11:14 am

    This here is a great mountain. I didn’t climb all the way to the top, but I did get high enough to see further than the molehills. Most amusing, thanks.

    Oh, remember that BMW is the TLA for Bitching, Moaning, and Whining. Which I think is entirely appropriate for this Beemer owner.

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  • Samuel John Klein July 22, 2010 at 11:35 am

    I just put my finger on what causes me despair about the thing.

    It says “Here’s a thought”.

    It’s not a thought.

    It’s a petulant reaction.

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  • Paul Johnson July 22, 2010 at 11:46 am

    ***comment deleted for inciting violence*** come on Paul, you know better than that.

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  • OregonJeff July 22, 2010 at 11:50 am

    @Paul Johnson (#77): You are *completely* out of line with that. Without talking with the owner of the car there’s absolutely no way for you to know what the license plate frame is all about. Since when did your distaste for whatever statement you *think* he’s making make it ok for you to damage his property and abridge his 1st Amendment rights?

    Someone that’s pro-bicycle torching his car will only make his (perceived) anti-bicycle position even more resolute.

    Ever heard the saying about vinegar, honey, and flies?

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  • Whyat July 22, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    It’s just a license plate cover stating this driver’s non-violent opinion. It’s a free country people. CTFO.

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  • OregonJeff July 22, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    @Whyat (#79): Yes, you may be right. However, there’s some reasonable concern about how far this motorist would go to promote his agenda.

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  • Paul Johnson July 22, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    ***Paul, I do not feel comfortable with even veiled mentions of violence. There’s free speech and then there’s not acting appropriately when at my place of business. I value your comments, but I’m really trying to make this a hate-free place. Thanks — Jonathan ***

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  • Jon July 22, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    So its interesting for me to walk into the bike fest here but to the guy running this site please take some responsibility that you seem to have a lot of hate here on your hands and that you are practically pointing a finger at who this guy is and where he lives.

    The only reason I am really even compelled to be here is I am a classic BMW owner its my daily driver and I paid 3,500 for it and its really no different than this car the fact that some of you are clearly intimidated by that is for lack of a better word hilarious.

    As a BMW driver I am a driver thats my hobby and my passion, I wont pretend I understand your movement as it is described or how this plate is a threat but I will say I would buy one. Ive been driving my whole life and only recently moved to a city with a strong cycling culture and it is a source of almost daily frustration which I have never experienced from anyone biking prior to my move and I am no stranger to bicycle riding and can safely say I never caused drivers any of the problems I see almost daily and I always displayed consideration and respect for my larger friends on the road which frankly I never see since my move.

    Of course because of my personal connection with my car I will probably be ignored, frankly I wish this was on a Saab or Subaru so I wouldn’t have to care. But overall I want to point out that this discussion is disturbing and well frankly is a threat to me simply because of the car I drive.


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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) July 22, 2010 at 12:50 pm

      Thanks for your comment Jon. I appreciate you pointing out how the other comments make you feel. I’ve deleted many of them and edited many as well. I’ll take another look and consider edited out the BMW jokes. Thanks.

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  • rigormrtis July 22, 2010 at 12:52 pm


    are you referring to drivers or bikers?

    1) clueless and therefore innocent
    2) a loud mouth looking for laughs by riling people up; also quite legal
    3) an actual road hazard that has or will commit punishable offenses.

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  • rigormrtis July 22, 2010 at 12:56 pm


    can I apply the same logic any hipster on a fixie that I see with a “One Less Christian” sticker on it?

    Do “One Less Car” stickers suggest an agenda of destroying cars?

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  • kgb July 22, 2010 at 12:59 pm


    “The only reason I am really even compelled to be here is I am a classic BMW owner its my daily driver and I paid 3,500 for it and its really no different than this car the fact that some of you are clearly intimidated by that is for lack of a better word hilarious.”

    Let’s see where to start. You don’t like some of the comments here because you think someone might hurt your car. No that is hilarious. Meanwhile most of us are concerned that someone is going to try to kill us while we are just trying to ride our bike from point A to point B.

    ***personal insult deleted***

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  • biancaromanestamos July 22, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    I think this is photoshopped.

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  • matt picio July 22, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Babygorilla (#26) – Sorry, still illegal. Read ORS803.550(2) – “covered or obscured IN ANY MANNER, including but not limited to”

    This is an illegal license plate, and subject to a $360 fine.

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  • Matthew July 22, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    To Jon (#83):

    Darn right we’re intimidated. Seeing that kind of bike-hate being broadcast from a motor vehicle — no matter what the make or model — is incredibly upsetting. Why?

    Because the person who owns that car can kill me.

    I could be riding down the road, he or she could decide I’m not going fast enough, and they could just run me right over. This is not hyperobole or exaggeration. That person, who hates people who ride bicycles so much that they display their hatred on their car for all the world to see, is riding around town in what is quite literally a deadly weapon.

    So you’ll excuse us if we freak out a little bit.

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  • Alexis July 22, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    Jonathan, please say your last sentence in #84 is deadpan comedy to accompany the more serious point about avoiding ad hominem pile-ons. If we can’t make fun of BMW owners on BikePortland, where can we? ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • Pete July 22, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    Jon (#83): The driver of this car felt strongly enough about cyclists to broadcast a controversial opinion on his car (kind of like the Prius with the Obama sticker I saw in south Texas last fall). I wonder, does he feel strongly enough to get on a bicycle and try riding in Portland? Or maybe engage the ‘community’ to find out why we take the lane, etc?

    Believe me, most of us ride daily, and we get frustrated by what we see other cyclists do just as when we drive and get cut off by drivers (I grew up on 2002’s incidentally and still drive), but to some, a slash through a bicyclist isn’t even thinly veiled as a threat. I find it moderately clever (more so if the driver’s also a rider; I happen to like irony), but to many riders it’s interpreted as threatening – just like you perceive some of the comments here (and yes, some are out of line).

    Jonathan is a news conduit. The driver should take responsibility for publicly displaying what may be an unpopular opinion. If s/he doesn’t want to advertise that they dislike a targeted group of people, then maybe they should keep their message to themselves (or post it anonymously on some Internet site ;).

    And yes, that Prius had a key scratch right down the side of it – big surprise.

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  • Anonymous July 22, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    I just love the assumptions people make regarding type of car and where this guy may have come from.
    My dad has always driven BMWs, used ones, because they are good cars..AND has a 16 lb carbon fiber bike…he’s been a roadie since I was a kid and he is the reason I ride bikes. I’m the opposite of a roadie and I am almost carfree, but I am from California, where I grew up riding my bike to school.

    Anyways, the LP is clever, I have to give the guy props for cleverness, it’s a bit crass. But mostly, when people do something like that it’s for attention. And well, you know what they say about feeding trolls.

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  • EmGee July 22, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    @Matthew, #90:

    Thanks for that post, it helped me gain insight into something that bothers me about this.

    I’ve heard the phrase “Kill them all and let god sort it out” used in jest, and while I think it is a bad joke, I recognize that it is a joke.

    Except when it is stenciled on the stock of an M-16 rifle being carried by a skinhead with swastika tattoos…. whatever humor it may have had in other contexts gets lost and it is then just plain threatening.

    Same thing applies here. The altered license plate would have been humorous if it were hanging on the wall at some pub (not to my taste, but that’s a different topic). But when placed on a vehicle that is associated with drivers who are inconsiderate to the point of being dangerous it is not only not humorous, but it is an example of hate speak.

    It is an attempt to redefine anyone on a bicycle as not being human, but being a “bicyclist” and not entitled to the respect and consideration that is given to drivers of other special vehicles (like school buses, motorcycles, cars towing trailers, etc). This may not be a conscious attempt to foster hatred against the “other”, but that only makes the problem worse.

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  • longhaulcommutergirl July 22, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    Interesting comments about a very nerve wracking subject.

    Last year, down town, a younger male driver in a car had a similar verbiage bumper sticker, but also included was an image of the car running over the cyclist… and yes he did agressively try to intimidate me with his car while I rode legally in one of the two lanes of the low traffic one way street.

    So if I see someone with any of these types of “personal freedom banners”, why yes, I do take it personally, and yes I do have some thick skin. For me my life is prescious and I prefer not to be harassed for simply riding a bike as a mode of transportation or for health & fitness.

    Sharing the road is simple, but for some individuals it appears to be darn near impossible.

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  • OregonJeff July 22, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    @rigormrtis (#86): You’re welcome to apply whatever logical comparison you wish, no matter how little sense they actually make.

    I don’t think that “One Less Christian” or “One Less Car” have any sort of similarity to “‘Here’s a thought, use the sidewalk’ and a crossed out share-the-road bike logo”. The former is talking about the choices and behavior of the individual sporting the sticker while the latter is an individual who has a very clear opinion and has no shame in also suggesting a very unreasonable and unsafe “solution” to something that’s only conceived as a problem by them.

    So, no, I don’t think that “One Less ‘insert-object-here'” stickers suggest any sort of “destroy ‘said-inserted-objected'” agenda. Unfortunately, I definitely think that the license plate frame being discussed does, in fact, do more than merely suggest an agenda.

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  • Matthew July 22, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    @EmGee (#92)

    That is EXACTLY what I meant. Thanks for your reply; glad to hear I’m not the only one who feels that way!

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  • Babygorilla July 22, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Matt #89:

    Read sub section (b) to subsection 2, it excepts obstructions caused by frame / plate holders, which this appears to be. Now, if the frame covered the actual plate numbers or the registration sticker, it would be illegal under subsection (a) to subsection 2.

    Of course, the argument on both sides are silly (though if I were a judge, I’d follow my argument ๐Ÿ˜‰ as this issue, hopefully, would never reach a courtroom. Though I’m sure one of these commentators is trying to figure out a way to find this guy and issue him some sort of citizen citation.

    Hey, its cool to go after someone for expressing a marginally popular (nationwide, probably, locally maybe) opinion if we ride bikes, right?

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  • RWL1776 July 22, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Ironic bumpersticker of the day:

    “BUY LOCAL!” on a foreign made Subaru or Volvo. I see that all the time. How about a “BUY AMERICAN” sticker on your bike?

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  • trail user July 22, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    I’ve seen these plates messed with before. Someone took a miniature model car tire, rubbed it in black paint, and made tire marks across the cyclist in the shape of an ‘X’. I don’t know if the owner did it or someone else since the car had a bike rack on top.

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  • Jon July 22, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    So I’m gonna bow out of this, I’ll swing back to see if I earn any more comments but I will retract that I’d buy one of these two reasons obviously its not safe to mix two radically different classes of transport on the same path and two well to be honest I was entirely unaware of what appears to be a much larger local issue and I am not local.

    For the BMW haters heres the rule Pre-1991 Cool, After 1991 good chance about the porcupine thing.

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  • OregonJeff July 22, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    @Jon (#97): You’re certainly spot on about a larger local issue to deal with. However, you’re certainly amiss about it not being “safe to mix two radically different classes of transport on the same path”. While there are accidents (many of which are fatalities), the accident stats overall don’t bear out support for your position. Cars and bikes *can* coexist safely on the same roads, but it certainly requires educated and tolerant drivers/riders.

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  • q'Tzal July 22, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    #85 rigormrtis

    Refering to bike or car:
    I was specifically refering to the car with the contentious plate on it. We have few if any verifiable facts upon which to base any well reasoned, dare I say logical, course of action.
    Reading back on the 3 points you listed though I think it easily applies to any road user at some time in their life, ofter in the same day: I can’t claim to be above any of these 3 mindsets myself.

    Sad irony: BP posters claiming moral superiority of our group then posting calls for murder, maiming, mayhem and property damage. We aren’t any better here, this is reading like the O’s bike story postings.

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  • jv July 22, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    @ Jon (97) I don’t think most this audience appreciates the sublety of whether various BMW years are cool or not, but I do. I have Share the Road plates on all of my 3 cars on the road(VWs and a Peugeot wagon). I like old cars, but I ride my bike 10 miles to work and back almost every day. I enjoy and appreciate the infrastructure that we all share. I do not feel threatened at all by this lisence plate cover, and we have no evidence to suggest that the driver of this car operates it in an unsafe manner.

    However, arguments that it is ” not safe to mix two radically different classes of transport on the same path” are completely hollow. If that is your perspective then we need to keep mopeds, cars, semi-trucks, and the streetcar each on seperate facilities as well. The key in all of this is to recognize the physics, limitations, and vulnerabilty of each mode of transport, and maintain situational awareness at all times, regardless of what you are riding/driving. That is how people have been operating on streets and paths around the world since the days of horses.

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  • t.a. barnhart July 22, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    i love Beemers. my dad had a ’38 for a long time; i’d probably ride down Powell at rush hour without a helmet to get a Z3. love ’em. if i won the lottery, i’d buy one in a flash. and BMW motorcycle. i wouldn’t use them much, but i’d damn sure buy ’em

    that said, the driver of this car has taken a public stand, a hateful one, and he’s given up his right to privacy. it’s not like Jonathon broke into his garage or stole his mail. the guy takes his message out on public streets (paid for in part by people who ride bicycles). of course responding with threats, etc, is stupid & counter-productive. but he doesn’t get to hide behind some fake right to privacy. he made himself a public figure with his choice of license plate cover, just as surely as if he’d purchased billboard space. Jonathon has every right to print the guy’s license plate.

    and he should. dickwaddery deserves to be exposed to the light of day — and public scrutiny.

    he’s an embarrassment to everyone who loves fine cars.

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  • Cielo69 July 22, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    Thanks for all you efforts Jon, including monitoring, and posting, such hot topics! Seems to be a polarizing issue, bikes versus cars… metaphorically like racism, black and white, and no in between like ‘gray’, or, ‘tan’, etc.

    Thanks again for all your efforts!


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  • chelsea July 23, 2010 at 9:15 am

    I think the best argument you can make against those types is to keep riding and keep enjoying yourself. They obviously don’t know the joy of the bike. Their loss.

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  • alex July 23, 2010 at 10:30 am


    My comment that “perhaps Paul Johnson should martyr himself” was simply a rhetorical device to point out the absurdity of Paul’s “with us or against us) argument compounded by his comment that the aforementioned driver has “more or less abandoned his right to life” as far as he was concerned. I also find Paul’s dehumanization of this driver is pathological.

    Radical positions (on both side) with no compromise may imbue the individual with a sense of power and entitlement but do no real good for the “movement.” It is selfish and immature.

    Therefore I will assert that if Paul is so dedicated to “the cause” that he would blindly call for the forfeiture of another human life that he should be prepared (in all hyperbole) to martyr himself to benefit the plight of cyclists.

    I hope you understand that what I wrote in my deleted comment is no less inappropriate and offensive as Paul’s #112 comment (his is perhaps ever the more so), yet his is allowed to stand.

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  • Joe July 23, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Ive always felt this weird feeling that some and I say SOME, are anti-bike that have this plate, since ive almost got tagged by few ” cyclists ” BTW i have one

    stay safe and ride on!

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  • trail user July 23, 2010 at 11:45 am

    I refuse to believe a DeLorean owner can be a bad guy. I mean just look at Doc Brown or Marty McFly. You guys are over blowing this and making cyclists a bunch of humorless vigilantes.

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  • Opus the Poet July 23, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    The frame and “no” design on the bike are illegal, but I find the levels of vitriol displayed against the owner of the vehicle in question to be both alarming and amusing. And totally understandable, after all this is a message of hate emblazoned on almost 3000 lbs of potential killing machine.

    Could we do a background check and find his whereabouts on 8/31/01? I have an unsolved assault with a deadly weapon on my hands (and leg, and skin, brain, etc.)

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  • jered July 23, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    Yep, the E28 is beautiful, personally I’d ditch the frame. I appreciate the subtlety of the older generation BMW designs, just as I love a classic lugged De Rosa etc. I’m another cyclist guilty of driving and loving old BMWs I can say all my wheeled toys/transports need to be a blast to use. I’d collect cars the way I collect bikes if there was an easy way to store them and pay for them… though a decent E28 would be about the same price as a decent bike…

    I love all the hate and anger, so funny everybody thinks portland is all mellow – he he he, angry entitled liberals are funny. Though I agree with the plate frame being lame and 99.9% of the content here I just want to taunt all the angry folks for sport…too easy, must try and resist. Have fun!

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  • aaronf July 23, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Wow, that’s almost half as threatening as one of those “this bike is a pipe bomb” stickers.

    I’m sure someone will let me know that that’s an apples to oranges comparison though… since a car weighs more?

    …and oh boy, did this comments section go all KATU or what? Firebombs and pricks and I probably missed a Hitler in there somewhere. I bet Mr. Maus is just swelling with pride as he deletes threat after threat on here, and he has more to delete still!

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  • chrehn July 23, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    WoW! the worm who owns this pompous car is looking for some trouble…

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  • Paul Johnson July 23, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    I see Jon decided to take the low road instead of doing the right thing. Congrats, Jon.

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  • Rol July 24, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    Here’s a thought: Go back to LA. (With apologies to Jonathan.) Kudos to them though, for letting the world know they’re a jerk, in at least 3 different ways simultaneously, WITHOUT EVEN BEING THERE.

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  • Red Five July 25, 2010 at 8:20 am

    RWL1776: Most Subaru’s are built here in the United States, save for the Impreza/WRX models which are still built in Japan.

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  • Paul Johnson July 25, 2010 at 8:36 am

    Why apologize? If you’re Californian, you’re taking up jobs, oxygen and driving up housing rates without any consideration for the locals.

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  • Pete July 25, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    And if you voted for an 11% income tax and to keep an expensive kicker in lieu of a general fund you sent the jobs to California.

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  • jim July 25, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    that picture just gets funnier everytime i see it. maybe i will save it…..

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  • Anthony July 27, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    The difference between a bmw driver and a porcupine is the prick is on the outside of a porcupine.

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  • Brian Johnson August 10, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Unfortunately 90% of this conversation is unproductive.

    Here’s a thought:
    All the comments from people driving cars about the poor behavior of people riding bikes are completely bogus and without merit. Who among us that also drive cars has never been cut off by another car driver, or seen someone drive their car through a stop sign without coming to a stop (or even slowing down).

    The sad truth is that we, as humans, are a mostly selfish species and navigate on the roads as we see fit, regardless of the other users, no matter the vehicle we control.

    Pedestrians jay walk, wear dark clothes at night, dart across road ways and act unpredictably. Motorists swerve, fail to use signals, ignore yield signs, drive too fast. Bicyclists ignore signage, ride on the wrong side of the road, fail to signal, don’t use lights/reflectors at night.

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