Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) 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: