Police statement: “No tolerance for ‘Hoodbombing'”

Posted by on August 4th, 2010 at 3:07 pm

“The last thing we need is to have someone driving on Timberline Road encounter an out-of-control cyclist and the police knocking on a relative’s door to tell them their son or daughter are dead because of this.”
— Oregon State Police Sergeant Duane Larson

In response to a serious injury crash involving a man riding his mini-bike down Timberline Road on Saturday, the Oregon State Police and the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office have just issued a statement saying they are taking a “zero-tolerance enforcement approach” to “Hoodbombing” in order to “prevent similar use of that highway and potential crashes.”

This is the second serious injury crash during the Hoodbomb run in as many years. Hoodbomb (which derives from locally famous Zoobomb) is the name given to a 5.5 mile ride from the top of Timberline road down to Highway 26 on Mt. Hood.

OSP Sergeant Duane Larson had this to say in the statement: “Most bicyclists using our roads know the laws and the importance of riding safely while sharing the road, but the use of Timberline Road to ‘Hoodbomb’ can be unlawful and place not only themselves but others driving along the road in an extremely dangerous situation.”

The statement also offered a refresher in Oregon law, stating that, “Any provisions of the Oregon Vehicle Code relating to the operation of bicycles do not relieve a bicyclist or motorist from the duty to exercise due care.”

Further bad news for Hoodbombing enthusiasts is a video that Larson found on the web (could be this one or this one) showing people on bicycles breaking a number of traffic laws which the OSP described as “improper use of lanes, careless and reckless driving, speed racing, and organizing a speed racing event.”

Larson added, “We want Timberline Road to be safe for all users including pedestrians, bicycles and motor vehicles. The last thing we need is to have someone driving on Timberline Road encounter an out-of-control cyclist and the police knocking on a relative’s door to tell them their son or daughter are dead because of this.”

I reached Oregon State Police Public Information Officer Gregg Hastings via telephone a few minutes ago. He said the “zero-tolerance” statement doesn’t come with any additional enforcement resources or efforts to stop the activity, but rather it’s just a message to the community that they are aware of it and they take it seriously. “When we have something which is potentially endangering others along that roadway, there’s going to be no warning.”

Hastings said they won’t hesitate in issuing citations or even taking someone into custody (which would be “pretty extreme” he said) for any unlawful downhill biking in the future. “We’re hoping people will learn from what happened and understand that this is not a road to be used for joyriding or for reckless operation.”

Since their official statement referred to “speed racing,” I asked Hastings if they had any evidence that the Hoodbomb was actually an organized race. “It’s not necessarily a race, but it could potentially become one… Such as, if we have a group up there and their main intention is being the first one down, than it does become speed racing.” Organizing a speed race, Hastings reminded me, is a Class C felony.

UPDATE: Here’s a video of this year’s Hoodbomb:

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q`Tzal
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q`Tzal

THIS JUST IN!
“Hoodbombers are now classified as kinetic kill vehicles. Can be arrested for merely looking at Mt Hood wrong”

/s

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

“breaking traffic lanes such as improper use of lanes”

you did mean traffic laws…

Allan
Guest
Allan

seems like the road could be closed for 30 minutes in the middle of the day for a bombing session… it sounds like they aren’t worried about bomber safety as much as others’

The only 2010 video on youtube looks pretty tame
Guest
The only 2010 video on youtube looks pretty tame

I don’t know to me it looks like all they are guilty of is unlawful shaking of the camera hands…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQ0z0aFTr-M

Ryan Marquardt
Guest
Ryan Marquardt

I appreciate the hoodbomb/zoobomb crowd for the local flavor that they bring to the Portland scene. That being said, I think the OSP is 100% right on making this call. Maybe I’m just getting old…

There are a lot of drivers and motorcyclists that also intentionally push (or recklessly exceed) the limits on the public roads, and they aren’t being singled out for a zero tollerance policy by the OSP. Unfair? Yeah, probably a bit. If the state police see a vehicle or motorcycle being operated recklessly though, they’re going to act on it. I can’t find fault with the OSP for putting the clamp down on a group that they know is going to show up and operate unsafely on the roads.

Can anyone shed some light on PPD’s stance toward zoobombers?

Rider X
Guest
Rider X

That is a nicely worded response from the police and makes sense. It’s a fun downhill, but people need to take care on a hill that size. Leaving your lane and riding recklessly is just dumb, it doesn’t matter what you are riding or who you are.
I look forward to reading the responses of those who think they are being held back by the cops or some other self delusion of persecution. Please spare the readers of the site.
It’s possible to have a great time and ride safely. I regularly ride 50+ mph, and do it relatively safely……….if you can even consider that safe. Some would, many would not. Would I do that on Timberline road? Nope, just too many curves. Down Hyw 26 from Governement Camp? Sure. That road is made for high speeds. Down Cornell from Skyline? Sure. Same thing. Accidents happen, but some common sense will help minimize the risk. Again, what people ride is their own business, but riding a kids (small wheeled) bike with a only a coaster brake or even hand brakes down a hill of that size is an accident waiting to happen. 2 years in a row? Looks like a bad trend. Be careful riders and most of all have fun!

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

“use of Timberline Road to ‘Hoodbomb’ can be unlawful”

use of anything CAN be unlawful…

so the police wanted to let us know they wasted the time to put together a special statement saying that breaking the law may be unlawful…

gee, thanks for the tip…

suburban
Guest

Zero-tolerance enforcement approach to laws. This is a rude introduction to many Portlanders of Clack-onics. Citizens of this county should issue a Zero-tollerance approach to meaningless press releases form their government departments-all departments. When “young-man” gets his helicopter bill, he’ll be tapping the kool-stops a bit more.

Brad
Guest
Brad

@Allan

If the Hoodbombers want the road closed then let them obtain an event permit, purchase liability insurance, and get the proper waivers. Otherwise, they are subject to the same laws as all other roadway users and any penalties for violations thereof.

Brian
Guest
Brian

Maybe I’m old too, but the thing that scares the cr@p out of me is the possibility of a deer or other animal darting into the road. Imagine hitting a buck at 40 mph.

rigormrtis
Guest
rigormrtis

*There are a lot of drivers and motorcyclists that also intentionally push (or recklessly exceed) the limits on the public roads, and they aren’t being singled out for a zero tollerance policy by the OSP. Unfair?*

I have not heard of any cases where those people are let go when driving recklessly, have you? Drunks?

Velophile in Exile
Guest
Velophile in Exile

Speeding kills far more people on the roads each year than the Zoobombers.

When is the OSP going to give us a zero tolerance policy for speeding?

Bob_M
Guest
Bob_M

Rigormrtis #11

Motorcyclists frequently get “performance awards” from law enforcement. DAMHIK

It is not that bombers are being singled out, it is that they are no longer being ignored.

Marcus Griffith
Guest

Yes, illegal road racing is illegal (and redundant) so is reckless driving. However, operating a vehicle at road speed is legal, even if the vehicle in question is a bicycle.

I am not going to lump all Hoodbombers as road racers; but, I also not going to dismiss the law enforcement statement as anti-bike.

I hope the injured cyclists continues to recover.

trail user
Guest
trail user

The newbs should not be going too hoodbomb. If you’re not confident of your abilities, don’t go. But if you do, gear up; chess protectors, leather, full face helmet, gloves, pads everywhere.

Charley
Guest
Charley

Well thought out statement from the Police. It’d be one thing if all the users were sober, rode within the law’s limits (and their own technical limits), and rode well fitted bikes with brakes up to the task. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Also, it’s naturally a race. Get a bunch of cyclists together and they’ll compete. The question is whether or not they’re doing it in a manner that doesn’t put other road users at risk.

SkdiMark
Guest

I’m pretty sure that anyone that does Hoodbomb or even Zoobomb is aware that if they are caught breaking a traffic law that will be held responsible. This statement is essentially meaningless. Also it only happens once a year,and next year the date will probably be kept a secret.

see you at Oregon's largest race
Guest
see you at Oregon's largest race

@15 glad I bought a skin suit for the bridge pedal which is clearly the largest race in oregon since it is the largest group of cyclists together at the same time…

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

#10 Brian
buck @ 40mph
I’ve seen this seen something like this.
SC redneck totaled his 90’s era brand new American built “macho tough” truck when racing along a vacant stretch of back woods pavement.
Road is straight for about 3/4 mile, dry, clean, no obstructions; tree line set back about a dozen or so feet. Night time a doe? (there wasn’t much left; no antler fragments were found), tries to cross road.
Redneck later brags that he had to be going between 90~100mph. Destroyed everything in engine compartment just short of the block, severely damaged front steering & suspension linkages.

Add speed of hoodbomber going down hill to speed of auto driver going up. Finally! A cyclist actually has a chance to injure an auto driver in an “accident”.

Moral of the story is if you hit it fast enough it looks like explosives. DARPA called it a kinetic kill weapon.

old&slow
Guest
old&slow

This just in:
Darwinism is not just a theory.
I rarely go over 40 on a nice road bike, if somebody wants to “bomb” at 40 on a bmx, more power to them. If they don’t endanger others (and have insurance if they crash and I don’t have to pay for it),
go for it.
I am sorry for the person injured, but they made the choice. I think the “laws”, cited are sort of irrelevant, they were not endangering anyone else I don’t think.
They took chances and Darwin’s law applied.
I think the “bombers” probably take this as a badge of honor.
More power to them, just don’t whine if things end up badly.

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

Does anyone know the actual speed limit on this road? I wonder if they were really “speeding”.

michweek
Guest
michweek

“Speed racing” is considered a exhibition of acceleration or speed, and is not limited to endurance racing or speed records (even personal records)
So by bombing with friends to show how fast you can go you are still accusable of “Speed racing” even if under the speed limit.
If you did an aggressive hoodbomb solo, you could get ticketed for careless driving, a lesser infraction.

BURR
Guest
BURR

by that definition passing people on the interstate or anywhere more than one car is on the road could be considered ‘speed racing’

Paul Tay
Guest
Paul Tay

Condolences to Ceder, da pedicabber. But, I have a hard time justifying po po parens patriae.

Not old at heart
Guest
Not old at heart

@Ryan, after that statement, yes, you’re old now.

This is a non-issue hyped into a heaping bowl of non-issue. It’s like when someone asks a question via email and CCs many people. Ugh.

Psyfalcon
Guest
Psyfalcon

Aren’t portions of many road races on open roads? I know a lot of triathlons don’t close all roads, what about some bike only races? Are they all facing racing tickets (at least technically?)

Until I see actual video of bikes crossing the yellow line, I don’t like this. Otherwise, its just ill fitted bikes going to fast. And then we’re going to have to all certify our bikes are properly fitted if we want to go more than 10mph.

Red Five
Guest
Red Five

Oh wonderful, now I don’t have to worry about some crazy bomber running into my PZEV Subaru Outback!

felix
Guest

so will they also be stopping the lance armstrong types that were also riding down that hill during hoodbomb?

are
Guest

the videotape to which jonathan provides a link shows a speed limit sign posting 45 mph.

Blah Blah Blah
Guest
Blah Blah Blah

To those that feel OSP is singling out bikes…If people on motorcycles or in vehicles organized an event such as this, you better believe OSP would single them out too.

I watched last week a jackass on a skateboard cut across both lanes of traffic in front of a car on Timberline road and damn near got squashed.

Alan
Guest
Alan

Yeah, as are|22 says, there’s a 45mph speed limit sign at 3:23 in the v=u-DdSdi2LOs video. That 2009 video looks to me like it is the full 5.5 mile run at actual speed in a time of 8:43, giving an average speed of 37mph. Speeds appear similar in the other videos, and lean angles don’t look especially insane in the corners. Note the overtaking car at 1:11 in v=mQ0z0aFTr-M suggesting that cars take the road faster than bikes, even bombers.

Lane travel appears legal with only a couple minor exceptions (example: swerve at 1:13 in v=mQ0z0aFTr-M, good visibility and clear of oncoming traffic). The main traffic infraction I noticed was shooting the stop sign at the bottom…tsk, tsk.

Not many deer out in mid-day, other traffic shoos them away and chances of either the bike or the deer evading before they collide is pretty good until much higher speeds. I’d be more concerned about the embankments rolling rocks into my lane or fresh oil or fuel spilled in a corner.

Were there entry forms? ID numbers? Timing devices? Prizes, awards or even score sheets for finish order? IANAL, but if I were a juror in such a case, those are things I’d expect to differentiate a fun ride from a race.

All in all it looks like an enjoyable run, exciting but far from “daredevil.” 37mph is fast, but not outside many riders’ experience and way below the 50mph that Rider X|6 mentions (that’s over 130 cadence in 52×11 gears on a 700c…fast!).

So, that leaves me wondering what went wrong for Cedar and Laura in their respective crashes. They are capable riders and I suspect they’d gone over 35mph before. Speed wobble? Tires? Bearings? Other mechanical issue? Road debris?

david....no! the other one
Guest
david....no! the other one

In hearing about the accident(and that is what it was), my reaction was Oh no!, not again.
Cedar I hope you get well soon. I hope for you that the experience was worth it, and that you continue to streach your boundries whatever they are.
Let’s all remember no one said it’s all safe out there. At speed things do “happen”, and always will, every year. Next year maybe everyone will be more careful…maybe.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

On the same day another bicyclist crash fatality occurred in Oregon:

http://www.columbian.com/news/2010/aug/03/officer-andrew-young-dies-on-mountain-bike-trip/

“A longtime Vancouver police officer, Andrew Young, died Friday while on an off-duty mountain biking excursion in the Hood River, Ore., area.” – reports The Columbian.

jim
Guest
jim

It’s good to know that osp is not under the same liberal constraints as portland police

cruiser
Guest
cruiser

blowing stop sign at end of run…unlawful.

solid gold
Guest
solid gold

OMG this just in! a skier was injured on the slopes! we need to take a zero-tolerance approach to this dangerous activity! how much of my tax dollars go to fly you uninsured skiers to ohsu! i’m outraged! rush is right.

Chris..aka.. blackbomber
Guest
Chris..aka.. blackbomber

well if someone would sweep timberline road down WHEN ITS NOT SNOWING then maybe people wouldn’t get hurt.. and if there really going to give me a dam ticket for riding my bike down the hill then what else are they going to tell me is illegal to ride down.. my own dam street.. class c felany for “street racing” on a bicycle… really people thats bull..

Marid
Guest
Marid

It’s not really bull. If you watch those videos it’s clear that ‘bombing is dangerous not just to the those doing it but to motorcyclists and autos on the road. There were times when cyclists and boarders passed cars in swarms or drifted into the opposite lane with cars or motorcycles oncoming. A slight hesitation or over correction could put a motorist in the hospital.

Probably what should happen is to have a ‘bombing event sanctioned by ODOT. Otherwise, I fear that after the next incident you will find grooves cut across the pavement or ridges installed every 500 feet or so.

WOBG
Guest
WOBG

Why, oh why must hipsters use deathtrap discount-store minis with coaster brakes? I get being low, but how about a street luge or a homebuilt Dan Hannebrink-style gravity bike (the *anti* tall bike)—with traction and brakes suitable for the conditions?

matt picio
Guest

Hmm. First off, you can’t prohibit “Hoodbombing” unless someone breaks the law. Yes, many do, but it’s entirely possible to bomb down Timberline without crossing into oncoming traffic, without passing unsafely, without exceeding the 45mph speed limit, and without “racing”. Second, it’s interesting that Mount Hood National Forest hasn’t weighed in, since State Highway 173 (Timberline) is entirely within National Forest land and subject to Federal law as well as state and county laws.

Not that I disagree with the basic sentiment, especially since OSP has to investigate the crash and CCSO has to coordinate rescue efforts. But the issue here isn’t “Hoodboming” per se, it’s about the actions of some who do it.

Note that unlike Zoobombing, there are no stop signs on Hwy 173 until it intersects with Highway 26.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Blackbomber

Go look up the “Basic Rule” in the Oregon statutes.

You are responsible to travel on the road at a speed that is safe for conditions.

If scree exists on the road it is YOUR responsibility to drive for the conditions.

A 45 MPH sign does not mean that you can travel at 45 MPH on that road at all times.

BURR
Guest
BURR

Funny how this bike Mt. Hood ad is now running on BF:

http://www.mthoodterritory.com/bikeon/

I suppose off-road mountain bikers never get injured or require medical services on Mt Hood? Where’s the outrage at that?

Really, this is much ado about nothing, riding your bicycle on the public roads, including the road up to or back from Timberline lodge is completely legal, folks.

Marcus Griffith
Guest

Would ‘negligent’ or ‘reckless’ driving charges apply to Hoodbombers? Are they traveling at speeds in excess of their vehicle design speeds? Exactly, what stopping ability does a skateboarder laying on his or her board have (see the video)?

Lastly, where is the line between lawful use of a roadway and ‘racing’? Would ‘road racing’ charges apply to cyclists commuting between Vancouver and Portland if they seek to improve their commute time?

Philistine
Guest
Philistine

“Second, it’s interesting that Mount Hood National Forest hasn’t weighed in, since State Highway 173 (Timberline) is entirely within National Forest land and subject to Federal law as well as state and county laws.”

The trees just contacted me and they are fine with it. The forest rangers did too, and they are super happy for the excuse to up their budget getting some new radar guns, body bags, and Blood-Off natural cleanser.

The only question remaining, and neither the trees or the forest rangers had an answer, is whether or not the white bikes that go up there will be able to withstand the winter snows. The snow plow guys seem to think if someone comes and digs them out periodically, places them on top of the snow, and marks the spot with some more Dollar Tree fake flowers it should be fine.

trail abuser
Guest
trail abuser

Intent is a big factor here. The road up to Timerline is intended as a connection between it and 26. Bombers are not intending to use the road as a connection, or even as a scenic way, but rather a means to have risky fun. Any publicly accessible property is built to be used by everyone, but some users create danger or annoyance. For example, skateboarders or the elderly, and we must regulate to prevent injuries. It’s illegal for airplanes to do risky maneuvers overhead residential areas.

dutch
Guest
dutch

Hoodbombing, much like zoobombing, is no different then many other adventurous sports, like mountain climbing, downhill mountainbiking, white water rafting, sky diving, bungee jumping, etc… We are all putting ourselves at risk in the name of entertainment. All these things are equally dangerous, if not more so then hoodbombing. Yet they are all condoned by society, yet our activity is not. Our sport seems silly, but it is no different then any other thrill seeking adventure. Yet we receive no sympathy, and instead condemnation, when bad luck chooses to injure one of our own. Why do we choose our sport instead of many of the other, more “civilized” sports? Because we are the working poor, and our sport isn’t prohibitively expensive. We are not jerks, and we do not try and do our sport in a way that will put others at risk. That is why we stay in our lanes, and have people at the bottom warning cars of oncoming cyclists. Accidents happen, and they happen to many other people who are also putting themselves at increased risk, yet society tolerates this. It is time for the double standard to stop.

Harlan Whitman
Guest
Harlan Whitman

Honestly that hill is weak sauce as far as speed goes. I really don’t understand how people keep wrecking…

Wyeast pal
Guest
Wyeast pal

From a mountain local perspective –
This unoffical event is no different than a hundreds of other gatherings that happen up here. Some folks go over the top in their behavior and give their group a bad rap. The difference here is that the Timberline Road is so heavily traveled and so visible.

Advice – do this unoffical event in the “off season” and midweek. Weekends in the summer is asking for hassles. Then do a service project for a couple hours.

jim
Guest
jim

perhaps cyclists should be registered and carry insurance

Philistine
Guest
Philistine

“We are not jerks”

Thanks Dutch. It’s about time someone injected some humor into this.