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Q & A with rider who inspired “Kill this Bicyclist!” post

Posted by on August 18th, 2010 at 2:16 pm

Paul Higgins, as seen from
the window of a TriMet bus.
(Photos: Screen grabs of Dan
Christensen’s blog)

At the end of last month, TriMet bus operator Dan Christensen published a shocking essay on his personal blog. The essay was titled “PORTLAND! KILL THIS BICYCLIST!” It went into detail about how Christensen was so frustrated with a man riding a bike in front of his bus on SE Hawthorne Blvd that he pleaded with someone to kill him and he himself wanted to “exercise the death option.” The post also included a photo of the man on the bike’s face that was taken by one of Christensen’s passengers.

“I don’t want to be responsible for making people feel the way I made Christensen feel…I’m much more mindful of the way I ride now.”
— Paul Higgins

Once the blog post (read it here) came to their attention, TriMet immediately placed Christensen on leave. He pulled the story down hours later, but not before it was picked up by the AP wire. After the dust had settled, Christensen was back to work a week later.

Christensen, a well-liked driver with a clean record, was obviously shaken up by what he saw, but the specifics of what the guy on the bike did to set him off have remain unknown. Until now. Below is a Q & A I had via email with Paul Higgins, the man who inspired Dan Christensen’s blog post.

What do you remember from that day?

“I remember approaching the light on SE 30th and Hawthorne in the right lane. The bus was in front of me and was just beginning to accelerate after the light turned green. I was going significantly faster and decided I could pass the bus without impeding traffic. I increased speed and moved onto the striped white line dividing the two eastbound lanes, passing both the bus and another car in the left lane. Once clear of the bus I moved back into the right lane so I wouldn’t impede faster-moving traffic in the left. I don’t remember hearing Christensen honk or anything like that. Neither do I recall pulling any other stunts on my way to work, though I may have blown through a light. (I always at least slow down and look and listen. I don’t believe that traffic control devices are responsible for my safety on the road, it is my ability to identify and respond to threats and danger that keep me safe.) When I arrived at work and was locking up he stopped the bus, opened the doors and shouted “Hey that was some fancy drivin’!” I didn’t turn around, I just said thanks and finished locking up and went inside. I really don’t like it when motorists yell at me.”

Where you surprised to read Dan Christensen’s account of what happened?

“What account? He claimed to have taken “extreme measures” to avoid hitting me; that “it was so bad and lasted for blocks,” yet said nothing of what actually happened. He mentioned vaguely that he may have had to brake violently and “throw people around my bus.” As I stated earlier, I was going faster than he was, that is what necessitated me passing him. The only reason I can come up with which would cause him to brake is if I surprised and scared him. It makes sense. I mean, I passed him on an unexpected side, out of a blind spot, in a maneuver that many would deem unsafe. But that’s conjecture. I have no way of knowing his account of what happened. One could only make assumptions based upon his poorly written, emotional tirade.

I was surprised at the length of time it took him to write about the incident, and to still be so filled with venom about it a month later is just ridiculous. After some consideration I can see that his blog was cathartic, and I’m glad he has a place where he can air out his demons. However, it may have been a better choice for him to have kept this particular writing exercise private. I mean, my mom almost cried when she heard about it, and he almost lost his job.”

Where you surprised at what a big deal this turned into?

“Incredibly. I was in front of that bus for less than five minutes. Let’s boil it down: A bus driver got mad at a cyclist and a month later posted a blog about it and then felt a bit better. Literally at the end of the blog he states, “Wow I feel better now.” It should have ended there.”

What kind of rider would you say you are?

“Fearful. I feel a bit like a mouse. I leave my tiny little home to try and scrape up some cheddar, and instead of snakes, cats, mousetraps and housewives with brooms; I have potholes, cars, pedestrians, other cyclists, cops, road debris and equipment failure that can all potentially kill or maim me. I deal with that by making myself a real presence on the road. When making my way through heavy traffic I’m big, aggressive, and loud. I get quite an attitude much of the time. Don’t get me wrong, I love riding. I get a thrill out of it. I like knowing that I reached my destination by burning calories instead of gas. I like that my legs and ass are fucking statuesque. I like that I don’t pollute, that it’s inexpensive, that it’s healthy, that I get to experience the elements, that every time I ride I overcome a challenge and am bettering myself.”

Has this experience changed how you think about bike/bus interactions and your own riding style?

“I’m on the watch for Dan. I want to shake his hand and tell him I’m sorry about the trouble I caused him. I don’t want to be responsible for making people feel the way I made Christensen feel. It’s wrong and no one deserves to be scared or bullied on the road. What’s tough is figuring out what’s my fault and what is just him overreacting.

I’m much more mindful of the way I ride now. I think about how my actions will affect others around me, and if my actions are in line with my ideal. My goal in life is to just be a good dude, I won’t achieve that if I ride like an asshole. My solution is rational, compassionate response to the people I share the road with, rather than a knee-jerk, fear-based reaction to people I perceive as threats.”

I’m grateful for Paul’s willingness to answer my questions candidly and thoughtfully. It’s clear he takes his role in this incident seriously. I hope this episode has been an opportunity for all of us — whether operating a vehicle with or without a motor — to learn that doing so comes with a lot of emotions how we behave can have an impact way beyond ourselves.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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trail abuser
Guest
trail abuser

It’s clear that Dan is not used to fit people riding bikes faster than himself and needs to accept that he may have mental health issues.

Nik
Guest
Nik

Thanks for this follow-up on the story. I haven’t encountered a more eloquent description of what it feels like sometimes to be out on the street in traffic on a bike.

Some people perceive the need to look big, to be seen, to assert one’s place in the road as arrogance, but it sure doesn’t feel like it when all you have is your own judgment, strength, reaction time, and faith in other road users between safety and certain injury or worse.

Grace
Guest
Grace

I wonder if Mr. Higgins used turn signals before changing lanes. (There are manual turn signals that I was taught to use when I learned how to ride bike.)

rhienna
Guest
rhienna

man, what a class act. paul’s reply is so conscientiously crafted, with grace and perspective. i really liked reading the “other side” of this event, especially given christensen’s vague/emotional blog post. well done to both of you.

peejay
Guest
peejay

Paul, thanks for expressing better than I could the philosophy of how I ride, too. I can only add this: as exciting and stimulating as it is to ride this way, I’d love to trade that for real safety, and real bike facilities.

Hollie Teal
Guest

don’t want to ride like an asshole and, in the process, make the rest of cyclists have to battle the image that we’re all assholes? start by not running red lights. thanks.

AL M
Guest

Interesting!

Nat West
Guest
Nat West

Yeah, Hollie is right. There is only one excuse for running a red light and that’s when you can’t get the thing to trigger, you wait through one cycle, then carefully proceed just like you were a car at a broken signal. I can see how Dan would get peeved if he’d seen Paul run a red, then pass on the left, then maybe pull back into the right too closely to the bus. That being said, I respect the “big, aggressive and loud” style of riding with traffic. There’s an adage in the motorcycling community, “Loud pipes (exhaust) save lives.”

jeff
Guest
jeff

From his own account here, Paul threaded a small space at high speed between a bus that was pulling out into the right land a car in the left lane (by riding on the white line).
Paul, if you don’t like motorists yelling at you, then don’t pull stupid moves like that.

Pinarovo
Guest
Pinarovo

I sincerely hope that Paul isn’t a hypocrite by not driving a car the same way he rides on his commute.

Nick V
Guest
Nick V

Both Paul and Dan sound like a couple of me-first drama queens. But, if I remember, Dan wasn’t quite so arrogant. And yeah, I agree with the people here who say that Paul was being stupid at the light, if not plain reckless.

dirt merchant
Guest
dirt merchant

The move Paul describes is stupid, reckless and undoubtedly surprised the driver.

Paul, how would you feel if you were driving the bus and a bicyclist surprised you in the same way?

matt picio
Guest

Nat West (#8) – There are 2 excuses for running a red light: the one you already mentioned, and #2 – if it is unsafe for you to stop. In some cases with extremely short yellow lights (some intersections in Beaverton / Hillsboro come to mind), stopping when the signal turns yellow would put a cyclist in the middle of the intersection. In those cases, the law permits any road user (not just cyclists) to run the red light.

Granted, that is not a common case.

Jerry_W
Guest
Jerry_W

Paul says “though I may have blown through a light”. That’s like a politician saying I didn’t do anything wrong, yeah, they did something wrong alright. Paul didn’t need to move around that bus on the left, that was a dumb move, totally unnecessary.

Stop at lights, stop at stop signs, ride like you don’t want to get hurt. I agree with others here, Paul is a jerk, he needs to grow up. Other bike riders don’t need to be lumped in with the likes of him and so many others just like him, it hurts us all.

Dan
Guest
Dan

Riding between lanes on Hawthorne (doesn’t say if it’s eastbound or westbound) when there’s vehicles in both lanes does in fact force one or both of the motorists to take evasive action.

Remember, the right lane on Hawthorne is not really wide enough for a Tri-Met bus even without a cyclist trying to thread the needle on the left side between the bus and a car.

In that situation, if you’re going to take the lane, the better approach would be to slow down (yes, I said it, the four-letter word beginning with “s” that us cyclists hate so much) and then merge into the left lane when it’s clear. If I had been driving either the car or the bus, I also would have been upset at Paul.

Paul does indeed give us a great description of riding a bike in traffic though.

Alistair
Guest

and Jonathan,
thank you from making this interview possible. Believing there is a fair place for all to share their sides makes it easier to hear other versions. And then who knows, perhaps even understanding, not of who is right or wrong, but of what led to good results and what didn’t. I’ve been a version of both parties myself, so it’s not simple but not impossible either.

I look forward to the License Plate guy too.

Dan
Guest
Dan

Judging from the photo, they must have been heading eastbound on Hawthorne. Paul,
if you ride Hawthorne all the time, you probably know that buses typically ride on the white line or a little bit over it. it sounds like you gained no more than 30 seconds or so by passing the bus in an unsafe and potentially life-threatening fashion — was it really worth it?

sabernar
Guest
sabernar

So the people who are disagreeing with him passing a vehicle on the left are saying that they have NEVER passed a vehicle on the left that was going too slow? How else are you supposed to pass? Definitely not on the right. If the left lane is open and you’re going faster than the car/bus/truck, then why can’t you pass? I know I’ve done it before, and I know plenty of cyclists have done it before. What’s the rationale for not passing?

matt f
Guest
matt f

Paul’s answers in the beginning part of the interview (and his former riding style) sound like that of a spoiled teenager: brash, spiteful, arrogant, not grateful (no offense Paul, I’m just trying to draw a correlation here)…just like our collective current bike commuting culture here in Portland.

But lo-and-behold by the end of the interview, perhaps in part because of the incident, he’s all growed-up. I’m sincerely glad to see that he’s gotten to this point without getting into an accident (or getting his ass kicked).

So Paul is more mindful and responsible of his actions on the bike now (good on you Paul)…how long (and what) will it take for us to collectively get there?

sincerely, grandpa simpson

Dan
Guest
Dan

@#18, from the RTFA department: “I increased speed and moved onto the striped white line dividing the two eastbound lanes, passing both the bus and another car in the left lane.”

The problem is not passing the bus in the left lane, there’s nothing wrong with that. The problem is threading the gap between the bus in the right lane and a car in the left lane.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

“There is only one excuse for running a red light and that’s when you can’t get the thing to trigger, you wait through one cycle, then carefully proceed just like you were a car at a broken signal.”

Thats breaking the law. Breaking the law is *BAD*. I am going to report you to BTA.

jeff
Guest
jeff

sabernar. No one is saying he should not pass at a given time when it is safe to do so. As described here, it was not that time if the bus was moving out into the lane (and most likely has its big red ‘YIELD’ sign flashing on the back).
Paul also could have waited until the car in the left lane cleared so he could have taken the lane to pass the bus (since he apparently likes to ride fast down E. Hawthorne).

Michael M.
Guest

Not to pick on Paul here (in part, anyway, because I appreciate his willingness to share his perspective on this whole unfortunate episode), but why do so many cyclists seem to think it’s okay to thread lanes and ride in such a way that is convenient for their own speed/progress, no matter how it might affect others on the roadway.

Happily, I don’t drive a motorized vehicle, but I think I would be terrified by a person on a bike suddenly appearing out of nowhere and speeding by without warning. Why is it those of us on bikes expect people in cars to pass us leaving a safe distance, but then we think its okay for us to squeeze between vehicles in adjacent lanes anytime we think “oh hey I’m goin’ faster than this here bus”? It just seems to me that if you are going to ride like you’re operating a vehicle (a condition imposed by many of our Portland roads), then you should follow the same laws that all vehicle operators are expected to follow. If you take the lane, maintain the lane, don’t weave between lanes. Don’t blow through or disregard traffic controls. Take some responsibility for your actions and behavior. Is that so hard?

Clearly, I have a hard time understanding the mindsets of many other people on bikes on the roads.

sabernar
Guest
sabernar

Ah, I didn’t read his description as if the car was in the left lane and he passed by threading between them. I read it as if there was a bus AND a car in the right lane and he passed them both. Yeah, threading is a bit dangerous (though I’ll still wager a good portion of the readers of this site have done the same, especially when they are stopped at a red light).

Tom_
Guest
Tom_

I don’t know why anyone rides Hawthorne — its dicey and there are lots of angry drivers. Harrison and Salmon are both much safer bike streets.

cyclist
Guest
cyclist

It needs to be reiterated that the lane widths on Hawthorne are such that there’s hardly any room at all between lanes when a bus is in the right lane (and frequently the bus has to hang over a bit into the left lane). The fact that this guy decided to shoot the gap as the bus was pulling out was probably what scared the crap out of him.

Eric
Guest
Eric

We’re asking for the city to put up millions of dollars in additional electronic controls for bikes at intersections, etc…and this guy won’t even respect the controls that are already there. Makes the rest of us look bad.

sabernar
Guest
sabernar

#26 – I’m not trying to defend him, but there are a LOT of people who make Portland cyclists look bad. He is FAR from the only one. On my short ride to work every day (4+ miles from SE to NW), I usually encounter at least a couple, if not significantly more, cyclists that make the community look bad. And I’m not even counting the 99% of all cyclists that don’t stop at stop signs (and subsequently make all cyclists look bad).

Bob_M
Guest
Bob_M

Calling Charles Darwin to the white courtesy phone

Melia
Guest
Melia

Wow. I have to say, while his response is candid and honest, it kinda makes my skin crawl. “Defensive” cyclists who blow red lights and maneuver their way through traffic with a big “me against the world” stance put me on edge. While they might feel safe doing fast, defensive, and un-anticipatable maneuvers, they can put cars, pedestrians, and other cyclists at risk by the shock of what feels like a close call.

Have you ever been shaken up by a car door opening up JUST as you pass it, thinking how bad that could have been? Perhaps the car driver would argue that they knew you were going to be past by the time they fully opened their car door and they truly believed it. Does that make it a good thing to do? No.

Whether cyclist or car driver, even if you’re *sure* (and who can really be sure?) you could execute a close-call and come out unscathered, surprising folks on the road isn’t going to keep our roads safe. Similar to cyclists that don’t use lights at night because they feel like *they* know what they’re doing. It’s not just your own safety, it’s for everyone.

The reality is that we’re all on these streets together and we need to look out for each other, which includes being visible and “anticipatable”. I need to let the cars around me know that I’m there and what I’m going to do (in advance) so that they don’t freak out and put themselves, me, or anyone else at risk, just as I want to support my fellow cyclists and make sure that cars are paying attention to us on the road.

Wayne Tyson
Guest
Wayne Tyson

I ride in San Diego, CA, and I’m thinking of moving to the Portland area.

In San Diego, we have about a thousand bicyclists who do a night ride frequently, en masse, running red lights, making obscene gestures, shouting indignantly at any close calls, stop traffic by blowing through stop signs and red lights, not to mention stringing out for miles so others, I ride in San Diego, CA, and I’m thinking of moving to the Portland area.

In San Diego, we have about a thousand bicyclists who do a night ride frequently, en masse, running red lights, making obscene gestures, shouting indignantly at any close calls, stop traffic by blowing through stop signs and red lights, not to mention stringing out for miles so others, including other bicyclists, cars, trucks, and pedestrians are immobilized for considerable lengths of time. They say that this is to “assert bicyclist’s rights.”

I was riding down a wide street, much like Paul, but obeying traffic laws. A bus had “nosed” toward the curb instead of making a normal stop, blocking most of the traffic lane. I checked for other traffic and passed the bus in what little space remained of the traffic lane. The bus was not signaling. The bus passed me before the next stop and abruptly swung to the right, forcing me into the parked cars; I was able to stop in time, but could not have made it through the couple of feet she left for me. I caught her at the next stop and asked, in a voice audible above the traffic noise, why she had tried to kill me. A police officer pulled up and we both asked to have the other arrested. The officer refused, suggested that I ride on the sidewalk and report the incident to the bus company, but wouldn’t write a report or call his supervisor. I did nothing, as I didn’t want to get a visit from the driver’s home boys.

That’s the way it is in San Diego.

As to the issues discussed, “Why can’t we just all get along?”

old&slow
Guest
old&slow

Both of them need to stay off the road. The cyclist is an a-hole who thinks only “he” can run lights in traffic, and the Bus Driver is an accident waiting to happen with his attitude and the “cooperation” of BikePortland for the kidgloves handling of his stupid blog.
He is a menace and Higgins is an arrogant jerk.

Kt
Guest
Kt

Splitting the lanes to gain a few seconds to your destination is stupid. And unsafe.

As we cyclists like to tell drivers, waiting a few seconds for a safe place to pass isn’t going to make a big difference at the end of the journey.

I’m glad that Paul came out with his side of the story, and his perspective as a cyclist riding Portland’s street. I wish Dan C would have also been as forthcoming with his perspective on what happened.

hairjordan
Guest
hairjordan

I couldn’t agree with Hottie Teal more. Thinking that you’re above the law that all others are expected to follow is arrogant. That’s the same kind of arrogance that Dick Cheney had when he was president. It leads some irrational drivers to take there anger out on cyclist in general. Including those of us who always obey traffic laws.

Nick V
Guest
Nick V

Tom #25 is spot on. Yes, I know – cyclists should be allowed on all urban roads. BUT….riding on Hawthorne when there are more bike-friendly roads within seconds is MUCH more stressful for all parties involved.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“Not to pick on Paul here (in part, anyway, because I appreciate his willingness to share his perspective on this whole unfortunate episode),…” Michael M #23

I certainly agree with that. It’s amazing to read Paul Higgins perspective, because it sounds as if he has little idea that his approach to riding in traffic could be any problem for any of the other people on the road with him:

“…What’s tough is figuring out what’s my fault and what is just him overreacting. …” Paul Higgins

If he really knew that what he’d done was wrong, I wonder if he would have consented to the interview being published. In comments above, numerous people have indicated things Higgins did that experienced and responsible road users would consider wrong, irresponsible, and dangerous, such as not properly signaling in preparation to making a turn (or not signaling at all), threading lanes (which is just nuts given the situation he describes on Hawthorne), blowing lights … .

Paul…Christensen is driving a behemoth bus…he’s doing everything he reasonably can to keep from rolling over vulnerable road users, including you on the bike. You, positioning yourself 18-24 inches from the bus on one side and a car on the other is seriously compromising his ability to accomplish this, should some untoward event occur.

Particularly in traffic congested areas, operating vehicles by clearly indicating intention to change direction of travel, before moving, is extremely important.

“…When making my way through heavy traffic I’m big, aggressive, and loud. I get quite an attitude much of the time. …” Paul Higgins

What exactly is he describing himself as doing here? Sounds as though he’s describing the kind of road user that yells profanities and flips the bird, etc, etc, at other road users they’re distressed over. Again, I’d just say if you’re on a bike and want to appear ‘big’ to other road users, try for example….big, clearly visible and lengthy hand signals indicating to those other road users that you’ll be turning, changing lanes, and stopping.

Since he’s wondering what Christensen did that might have been overreacting, I’d say that C’s mistake was limited to one of judgment after the fact, in phrasing his concern and frustration on his public weblog, using words ‘kill’ and ‘death option’ as literary devices. For a bus driver describing personal job experiences, doing that kind of thing is also wrong, dangerous and irresponsible.

Not everyone may agree, but I think we’ve heard at least something from Christensen that suggests he certainly does realize what he did in that respect, is something he should never do again, ever.

The last two paragraphs of Paul Higgins interview suggest that he also, after this incident, is aware that for him, a change in his in traffic riding manner is in order. In the case of both Christensen and Higgins, that’s good news for all of us.

Joe
Guest
Joe

What kind of rider would you say you are?
love it, great story.

be safe and enjoy the road all.

Brian
Guest
Brian

Lessons learned:

1. Don’t be an arrogant jerk rider. Just because you are on a bike does not mean that you can be a scofflaw. The world’s behavior to you will mirror your own. You will get more respect if you ride like an adult and you will give the rest of us a better reputation. No need to prove anything or declare war.

2. Ride cleanly without fear, but with awareness.

3. If there is a good alternative, don’t ride on Hawthorne or other busy streets that are tight, unless you really have to and then only for a short stretch… especially at rush hour. As has been mentioned, why not choose an adjacent peaceful street and enjoy the ride with more safety? Why ask for trouble? Are you really in that much of a hurry? If it is a little bit longer, so what? Maybe you just want to show off your prowess and “statuesque” bod to as many as possible on a busy street?

Peter Smith
Guest
Peter Smith

but I think I would be terrified by a person on a bike suddenly

Portlanders who drive cars, and GINORMO-cars (aka ‘buses’), are actually ‘terrified’ of people on bikes who do stuff they don’t like? forgive my incredulity, but i’m not buying it. if you are that terrified of Bikers Behaving Badly (BBB), then stop driving. you live in Portland — what’s your excuse?

if you drive a bus for a living, then stop crying — there’s no crying in bus driving (NCBD) — have a Snickers — do whatever you need to do to calm yourself down — meditate — practice yoga — or retire — easy.

While you’re on the road, though, drive that oversized, cyclist-maiming contraption you call a bus very slowly, and if cyclists want to pass you, then let them pass you, give them a friendly wave and a smile, and float on — don’t encourage other people to murder and maim cyclists, etc.

it’s all pretty basic, common-sense-type stuff.

cyclists need to be given our own infrastructure. until that is true for 100% of Portland’s roads, then drivers will have to learn to act in a civilized manner. we’re trying to have a decent society here, and you drivers are mucking everything up.

drivers — bus drivers included — need to realize that they do not have rights on the roads — they have responsibilities — there’s a difference.

Drivers are forces of occupation — they are are responsible not just for the crime of invading our cities and towns in the first place (‘The Supreme Domestic Crime’™), but for every subsequent crime that stems from that original crime. While they are on the roads, they are expected to behave as guests in our home — do not dare harass or threaten us, much less maim and kill us, or you will be banished. if you are on the roads, you are there at our pleasure — when we decide that your time is up, then your time is up. So behave yourself — you’ve probably still got a few more years of being able to drive on some of Portland’s roads. if you start acting right, we might let you stay a little while longer. doubtful, but we’ll see.

The problem is threading the gap between the bus in the right lane and a car in the left lane.

afaik, lane-splitting in portland is legal.

Paul also could have waited until the car in the left lane cleared so he could have taken the lane to pass the bus (since he apparently likes to ride fast down E. Hawthorne).

or the bus and car drivers could have been as considerate as most cyclists usually are and just waited nicely for the cyclist to pass them. as an avid cyclist, i’m sure the bus driver must’ve known how important momentum is when riding one’s bike. it’s just common courtesy to let folks pass. many cyclists i know, and many i don’t, will intentionally ride in the door zone, at their own peril, just to give drivers the opportunity to pass. talk about selflessness — putting yourself in danger just to accommodate total strangers — that’s pretty freaking awesome if you ask me. that’s not the only reason some/many/most bikers ride in the door zone, but it’s certainly one of the reasons.

Is that so hard?

anybody can pick on the vulnerable — that’s the easy part. why not pick on the powerful – the car and bus drivers? Is _that_ so hard?

millions of dollars in additional electronic controls for bikes at intersections

bus and car drivers speed, drive recklessly, and run lights all the time, and Portland spent millions on all those electronic controls for cars — what’s the use?

besides, unless those ‘additional electronic controls for bikes’ are going to give cyclists signal priority and a green wave, then the city should put those electronics to better use — for speed cameras, catching red-light-running drivers, etc.

Have you ever been shaken up by a car door opening up JUST as you pass it

um, the difference is that i’m not worried about scuffing the molding on some dude’s Prius — i’m worried about breaking my collarbone. besides being a major pita, it can be quite painful.

That’s the way it is in San Diego.

that’s the way it is in most of America, and most of the world, and often in Portland, too, I suspect. bus drivers hate getting passed by bikers worse than car drivers do.

bus drivers have the kind of jobs that just shouldn’t be. those jobs are so horrific that, as a society, we’re basically guaranteeing that they’re going to lash out at some point — probably at the most vulnerable among us — bikers. i’ve no doubt that’s how a few bikers’ lives have ended.

Splitting the lanes to gain a few seconds to your destination is stupid. And unsafe.

it’s not just time — it’s the effort.

buses are ‘worth’ about 4.5 cars — personally, i’d rather have those cars on the road than buses. i’m not alone. the only thing that can kill people and street life more effectively than cars is buses.

Tom_
Guest
Tom_

Peter Smith,
Now that was an excellent point by point rant. Disagree on the last part about buses. I think they should have their own lanes — as in the D.F, Mexico. I also thought that threading lanes was legal in PDX.

@34: That was me imitating the Toms of the world. This kind of thread is just not complete without someone telling me not to ride where I want to ride.

@Melia
Cautious cyclists need to accept the fact that there are cyclists with different skill levels and risk tolerances.

sabernar
Guest
sabernar

#33 said, “As we cyclists like to tell drivers, waiting a few seconds for a safe place to pass isn’t going to make a big difference at the end of the journey.”

So are you one of the 5 Portlanders that stops at all stop signs? I hope so, because every cyclist that blows through a stop sign is doing it in order to save a couple seconds. Portland cyclists try to save a few seconds all the time by disobeying traffic laws.

are
Guest

i myself personally would not have split the lane. and i don’t idaho red lights when anyone is watching, but certainly would if the coast was clear, not limiting myself to matt’s two scenarios.

but what i cannot understand is why anyone would ever do anything differently from the way i myself personally would have done it, had i been there.

sabernar
Guest
sabernar

I find it amazing that so many posters feel that what Paul Higgins’ disobeying traffic laws was so incredibly wrong, yet they have their own rationalizations for their own breaking of the traffic laws that they choose to disobey. No hand signals? Check. Rolling through a stop sign? Check. Starting to roll through a red light in anticipation of it turning green? Check. But, but, but, what *I* am doing is as bad as *THAT GUY*! People love to throw stones at others because of the degree of their ‘wrong’. It reminds me of people who won’t eat veal or lamb because of the suffering of the baby animal, yet they don’t mind eating meat from adult animals who also suffer greatly. They have it in their mind that certain wrongs are wronger than the wrongs which they choose to overlook.

I’d wager that most of the people condemning Paul Higgins’ riding also commit traffic violations which they feel are just fine to violate.

Cleaver
Guest
Cleaver

Portlanders should not complain about Paul’s irresponsible, reckless, narcissistic riding style if the payoff for it is Paul’s “fucking statuesque” ass.

gus
Guest
gus

He may have the ass of a god, but by god he’s an ass.

matthew vilhauer
Guest
matthew vilhauer

i’m really the last person who should be lobing stones here but gee… some dude acts like an ass, admits as much and surprise??? yep, he gets called out on it. hopefully he is only indicative of a small minority of local cyclists. it’s guys like him that lead to the negative stereotyping of all cyclists.

Mercier 531
Guest
Mercier 531

I have been commuting by bike for a long time and for many, many miles. I have had my share of close encounters that could have produced death or serious maiming. What I try to do is limit the number of times that death or serious injury could be inflicted upon me. With that mantra in mind, I try to find those routes where I do not have to compete with massive hunks of steel for a share of the road. I have lived 4 blocks from 30th and Hawthorne for 20 years and I can count on one hand the number of times I have ridden on Hawthorne at all (generally early on a weekend morning). With the bike boulevard that calls itself SE Harrison just a few blocks away, PLEASE consider riding there instead of on Hawthorne. PLEASE!

Mike
Guest
Mike

The dude is a jackass that deserves no respect. Put a mic in front of his face and he would probably tell you the sky is falling. He seems to make up his own rules and falls back on the ” I’m riding a bike” excuse when he runs a stop sign. What in the hell was he passing on the left for? He didn’t deserve a “death threat” but he certainly deserved a throat full of bees!!!!

are
Guest

re comment 48, i hope you mean what the hell was he splitting lanes for? passing on the left is how it is done.

Jerry_W
Guest
Jerry_W

^^^^ Ha hahahaha! ^^^^ Best post yet, well done Mike!